MONTREAL (AP) _ The Montreal Expos sent pitcher Matt Blank to Triple-A Ottawa on Friday and saw infielder Ryan Minor claimed off waivers by the Seattle Mariners.

In a normal year, those would be unremarkable offseason transactions. But these are not normal times for the Expos.

Major league baseball announced last week it planned to eliminate two clubs for next season. While the teams weren't named, one is almost certainly the Expos.

And while a team spokesman said office workers were mostly ``in a holding pattern,'' waiting to see if the club will still exist in 2002, it's business as usual in the baseball department.

``There's no change,'' interim general manager Larry Beinfest said. ``Certainly, there are questions about the club, but as far as baseball operations are concerned, we have gone about our business as in the past.''

The Expos haven't made any trades, but Beinfest has been making the usual November adjustments. This week, Montreal signed free agent pitcher Joey Eischen to a minor league contract.

Beinfest said he has contacted agents about other free agents. It prompts the question: Why sign with a team that may no longer exist?

``For sure, there have been questions about the club's future, which I can't answer, but that's normal,'' said Beinfest. ``But we continue to have talks with agents and we've talked to other general managers.''