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EDDIE MATHEWS CLOSE TO DEATH

Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews, one of 16 players to hit 500 career homers, is close to death at a hospital near San Diego, his wife said Friday.

"The doctors don't give him much longer," Judy Mathews said from the family home in Del Mar, Calif., not far from where Mathews is hospitalized at Scripps La Jolla. "His body's tired of fighting."

Mathews, 69, has been hospitalized since his wife took him to the emergency room Sept. 3 after he had trouble breathing. Mathews was diagnosed with congestive heart failure at the time. He also has had lung problems and pneumonia since being hospitalized.

A third baseman, Mathews played 17 seasons in the majors. He was the only person to play with the Braves in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta, and was a member of three World Series teams -- two with the Braves and one with the Detroit Tigers.

Mathews hit 512 homers and batted .271 with 2,315 hits and 1,453 RBIs. He also played for Houston and Detroit before retiring in 1968, and later managed the Braves in part of the 1972 season, all of 1973 and part of 1974. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1978.

Yankees, Rivera close deal

While Mariano Rivera got his long-term deal from the New York Yankees on Friday, Terry Adams beat the Dodgers in salary arbitration and left Los Angeles at the top of the payroll chart.

Rivera, 31, who was eligible for free agency following the season, agreed to a $39.99 million, four-year contract and became the highest-paid reliever.

Rivera, MVP of the 1999 World Series, gets an $8 million signing bonus payable over four years, $7.15 million this season, $7.45 million in 2002, $8.5 million in 2003 and $8.89 million in 2004.

His average salary of $9,997,500 tops San Francisco reliever Robb Nen, who averages $8,125,000 under a $32.5 million, four-year contract.

Rivera received a no-trade clause for the first two years of the contract. He also can terminate the deal after two seasons and become eligible for free agency. If he does that, he looses the final $4 million of the signing bonus, meaning he will have received $18.6 million for two years.

At about the same time Rivera's deal was finalized, Adams got a raise from $1.4 million to $2.6 million. Los Angeles argued that the pitcher should be paid $1.95 million. With 23 players signed, the Dodgers' payroll is at $110,655,953. The Yankees' payroll is at $109,935,143, also for 23 players.

Jays ask Selig to intervene

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The standoff between the Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago White Sox over the David Wells-for-Mike Sirotka trade is headed to Commissioner Bud Selig's office. Blue Jays General Manager Gord Ash said Friday he intends to ask for a ruling as Toronto seeks compensation because Sirotka has been diagnosed with a partial tear of the rotator cuff and a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

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