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Bud Selig: Cubs’ debt not a problem

Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates

Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates

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Updated: May 3, 2013 6:37AM

PITTSBURGH — Major League Baseball does not dispute that the Cubs are in violation of MLB’s debt-service rules, but commissioner Bud Selig said through a spokesman that MLB does not consider the debt a problem for the franchise.

Responding to questions from the Sun-Times related to Monday’s report about the negative impact on baseball operations of the Cubs’ sizeable debt, Selig’s spokesman said: “The Ricketts family worked closely with our office to develop certain financial structures designed to [ensure] the stability of the franchise at these debt levels. The structures have worked; the club is healthy; and the Cubs have been very up front and clear with us since Day 1.”

Multiple sources inside and outside the team consider the Cubs heavy franchise-purchase debt — $580 million, according to Forbes — an impediment to the flexibility of the baseball ­operations department, resulting in what one economist called “mid-market behavior” by a the most-profitable team in baseball.

Asked about MLB concerns over the city of Rosemont’s overtures to lure the Cubs out of Wrigley Field, Selig’s response: “Everyone fully understands the historical significance of Wrigley Field. Each club knows what works best in their individual market and what the best course of action is for their team.”

DL for Barney

The Cubs placed second ­baseman Darwin Barney on the disabled list before the opener ­because of the gash over his kneecap suffered Saturday in Houston. But Barney knows how much worse it could be after watching Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware’s grotesque leg injury in an NCAA tournament game.

“I was laying in bed feeling bad for myself, and then all of a sudden I felt blessed,” Barney said, “to have a deep laceration like that. Gosh, that poor guy [Sunday]. I’ll be back. Unfortunately, he has a lot more rehabbing than I do. It definitely could have been worse.”


The Cubs added infielder ­Alberto Gonzalez to the 25-man and 40-man rosters. To make room on the 40-man, minor-league pitcher Robert Whitenack was designated for assignment.

◆ Anthony Rizzo, who went all spring without a homer, hit one over the right-center bleachers on the first pitch he saw Monday. “It was definitely lingering, with guys calling me [Tony] Campana,” he said. “It was nice to get it out of the way.”

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