Players union prefers San Juan

Updated: November 20, 2003, 7:56 PM ET
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- The commissioner's office hopes to decide by next week whether the Montreal Expos will move 22 home games to San Juan or Monterrey in 2004.

The players' association and Major League Baseball have been negotiating a deal that would allow Expos' home games to be moved for a second straight season. The union has said Puerto Rico is its preferred destination.

Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, said following Thursday's owners' meeting that he hopes an agreement will be finalized "within 36 to 72 hours. Or 54 hours, somewhere in that range."

When baseball's other 29 teams bought the Expos before the 2002 season, the hope was to have the team in a new home in time for 2003. Last January, DuPuy said baseball hoped to find a permanent home for the team in 2004, but on Thursday he finally acknowledged that no longer is possible.

The team is being sought by Northern Virginia; Portland, Ore.; and Washington, D.C. However, none has been able to complete financing for a new ballpark.

DuPuy said he has "every expectation" the Expos will be moved before the 2005 season.

"Our goal is to find an economically viable location for the Expos that will ensure the successful operation of a major league franchise for decades to come," DuPuy said.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press