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Steinbrenner Praises Beeston

February 19, 2002

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner thinks Paul Beeston’s departure from the commissioner’s office would be a loss for baseball.

Beeston, baseball’s president and chief operating officer, has told baseball officials that he intends to leave the commissioner’s office, perhaps by April. Beeston, the former president of the Toronto Blue Jays, has been commissioner Bud Selig’s chief labor negotiator.

``If he lets Beeston go, it’s a major, major mistake,″ Steinbrenner said Tuesday.

Steinbrenner also thinks baseball will eliminate teams before the start of the 2003 season.

``Maybe it’s a good thing,″ he said.

On Yankees’ matters, Steinbrenner said he saw former New York pitcher David Cone frequently. Cone still hasn’t found a team for this year.

``I have a warm spot for David. There should be a place in baseball for David,″ Steinbrenner said. ``We’re pretty loaded up in pitching right now. I never rule anything out.″

General manager Brian Cashman said the Yankees have not talked to Cone about signing him.

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