Layoffs affect Rangers front office

6/16/2009 - MLB Texas Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers have cut several staff members from their front office about two weeks after owner Tom Hicks said he was exploring a sale of the team.

Rangers spokesman John Blake said Tuesday the cuts amounted to less than 10 percent of the staff. He said the possible sale of the team was among several factors that led to the layoffs. Before the cuts, the Rangers had about 275 employees, excluding onfield personnel.

The move came despite the first-place Rangers enjoying a resurgence at the gate. Attendance has increased about 11 percent over last year to 867,016 entering Tuesday's interleague series opener against the Houston Astros.

Hicks said last month he would be willing to sell controlling interest in the franchise, in part because of financial problems he is facing. Earlier this year, Hicks Sports Group defaulted on $525 million in loans backed by the Rangers and the NHL's Dallas Stars, the other U.S. pro sports team Hicks owns.

Hicks bought the Rangers for $250 million in 1998. Forbes last month valued the Rangers at $405 million, 15th among the 30 major league teams.

Two years ago, Hicks combined with Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett Jr. to buy the English soccer club Liverpool through an entity separate from the Hicks group facing the loan default.