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Players rumored to throw games; league investigating

12/4/2006 - MLB

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Dominican baseball
officials were investigating rumors that players on a winter league
team took money to throw games, the league president said Monday.

The announcement came four days after pitcher Pascual Coco and
outfielder Enmanuel Sena were dismissed by Santo Domingo's Escogido
Lions amid allegations the last-place team was intentionally losing
games.

Lions officials denied the rumors and said the two were let go
because they weren't producing for the team.

An investigative committee was set up by the six-team winter
league -- whose rosters are filled with Dominican- and U.S.-born
major league stars -- to interview players, fans and betting houses
in the Caribbean nation, league president Leonardo Matos Berrido
said.

"Seeing what baseball means for the public, we can not let the
image of this sport deteriorate," Matos told The Associated Press.

The roster of the Santo Domingo club includes Chicago White Sox
shortstop Juan Uribe and Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Wilson
Betemit.

Four U.S. minor league umpires recently quit the Dominican
league after one of them was threatened with a gun. An
investigation conducted by Major League Baseball ruled the threat
was an isolated incident, Matos said.