White Sox may leave Sarasota for Ariz.

November 07, 1991

The Chicago White Sox may be only weeks away from deciding whether to move their spring training camp from

Sarasota, Fla., to a Phoenix suburb.

"We could go to the City Council as soon as next Tuesday," Glendale, Ariz., Mayor George Renner said yesterday.

White Sox board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who has homes in Arizona, was traveling and unavailable for comment. But Doug Abel, the team's director of media relations, confirmed the White Sox had "had preliminary discussions with officials in Arizona."

The White Sox have 18 years left on a 20-year lease in Sarasota and would have to find a replacement team or pay a $630,000 annual bond payment. Observers say the Boston Red Sox would move from Winter Haven, Fla., to Sarasota if the White Sox left.

The Baltimore Orioles played a few home games in Sarasota last year and will train there next year, before playing their home exhibition schedule in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Beyond that, the Orioles are hoping to develop a permanent spring home in Naples, Fla., pending the restoration of a local tourist tax that had been rescinded by a court ruling.

Tom Daffron, Orioles senior vice president, said the club still considers Naples a viable choice.

About Sarasota, he said: "If the White Sox leave, and that is by no means certain, and the Red Sox don't turn out to be the subsequent tenant, then it is something that we might take a look at. We've been in Sarasota. We like it there, but I don't think there is anything there yet."

* RED SOX: Boston and Jim Rice are taking steps to amend their problems of the past two years. The former Red Sox slugger, who was bitter after being released after the 1989 season, is being strongly considered for a minor-league hitting coach's position in the organization.

* PHILLIES: President Bill Giles is exploring the possibility of signing free agent Orel Hershiser. Hershiser, 33, had reconstructive elbow surgery in April 1990. He started 21 games this year for the Dodgers, going 7-2 with a 3.46 ERA.

Giles said the Phillies virtually had ruled out pursuing any other marquee free-agent starting pitchers. The Phillies still are trying to re-sign ace reliever Mitch Williams and also "will go high" to obtain Pirates free-agent outfielder Bobby Bonilla.

* American League umpire Steve Palermo detailed for jurors in dramatic and emotional testimony how he was shot aiding two waitresses who were attacked by robbers in July.

"One of them reached and pulled something out and I hollered . . . and then -- pow, pow, pow, pow, pow," said Palermo, who struck the witness stand to mimic the sound of bullets. "Five shots rang out."

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