Hello?, Hello? … Arizona Calling

Arizona persists in its attempt to lure the Dodgers to a new complex; the 2006 Amateur Draft order shows Los Angeles has three first-round picks and Nomar Garciaparra is rehabbing with Las Vegas and could be activated soon.

Just Looking at This Time, Thank You-- While the Dodgers have listened to proposals from three different Arizona cities trying to attract major league teams for spring training, they have neither responded to letters or initiated any discussions, spokeswoman Camille Johnston said.

However Mayor Jim Cavanaugh of Goodyear, said the Dodgers "indicated they'd be interested. There's nothing set. They were receptive to talking."

However, a Dodger official contacted the county administrator in Vero Beach two days ago to inform him that the Arizona cities had reached out to the team. The Dodgers have trained at Vero Beach since 1948.

"They called to give me a heads-up," Indian River County Administrator Joe Baird said to the Vero Beach Press Journal. "But they gave no indications about how serious the talks were or how far along they were."

Owner Frank McCourt said that the team had not made any decision on moving its spring training site from Vero Beach, Fla., to Goodyear, Ariz., and that the Goodyear City Council's attempts to lure the Dodgers were unsolicited.

Although the Dodgers have not expressed displeasure with their current arrangement, the idea of moving to Arizona intrigues them primarily because the cities of Goodyear, Glendale and Casa Grande are competing for teams and could offer economic incentives as the process moves forward.

Two teams probably would have to move from Florida for Cactus League scheduling purposes. Probable candidates besides the Dodgers include the Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles, both of whom play in antiquated Florida facilities.

Goodyear and Glendale are close to most Cactus League cities, but they aren't the only options. Casa Grande, 50 miles south of Phoenix, has developed a plan for a $130-million recreation park and 12,000-seat ballpark that could house two major league teams by 2008.

The Dodgers have accepted an invitation from Goodyear [Arizona] officials to discuss moving to a proposed two-team training complex in the city 20 miles west of Phoenix. The city reportedly has put out feelers to 10 teams that train in Florida. Nearby Glendale is also interested in the Dodgers.

City and state funds would cover the construction costs, estimated at $80 million to $90 million. In 2001 the Dodgers signed a 20-year lease with Vero Beach but could apparently get out of it by helping the city recoup its expenses for purchasing Dodgertown and renovating it.

The Dodgers have a night off, their first since April 6. In other news, the order of draft selections shows that Los Angeles has three picks in the first round but lose second and third round choices, all because of signing or losing free agents.

They will draft in the #7 slot, then have the 26th pick in the first round, from the Angels, for losing RHP Jeff Weaver. They will also get a compensation pick, #31, for the same reason.

However, they lose their second round draft because of sigingin SS Rafael Furcal from the Braves and their third choice because of signing Bill Mueller of the Red Sox.

About Ready-- Nomar Garciaparra is expected to complete a two-game Triple-A rehab assignment Thursday (last night) and Friday with Las Vegas before the Dodgers activate him from the disabled list.

Garciaparra and his father drove to Fresno, where he'll join the 51s to test the right rib-cage muscle he strained the last week of spring training.

If all goes well, Garciaparra is expected to be in the Dodgers' lineup Saturday at home against Arizona.


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