TORONTO (AP) -With Asia on the minds of baseball officials, the sport's chief operating officer still wants to push ahead with exhibition games in China next year in addition to opening the regular season at the Tokyo Dome.
The players' association granted management another postponement in the deadline for the 2008 draft schedule, which already had been pushed back from June 30 to Aug. 15. The possibility of having the Boston Red Sox start next season at the Tokyo Dome against an AL West team has been discussed, with Oakland, Seattle and the Los Angeles Angels getting consideration.
``Our intent is to open in Japan next year if at all possible and our intent is to play exhibition games in China,'' chief operating officer Bob DuPuy said Wednesday on the opening day of a two-day owners' meeting.
Gene Orza, the No. 2 official of the players' association, has said that exhibition games at the Olympic ballpark in Beijing were less likely than an opener in Japan because players didn't want to disrupt spring training.
For the Tokyo games, Orza said earlier this month that the Red Sox were a ``logical choice'' because of Daisuke Matsuzaka. Seattle could be attractive to baseball officials because of Ichiro Suzuki.
Orza said Wednesday that he had given management ``another few days'' to produce a draft schedule.
Having the Red Sox, who train in Florida, face an AL West team with an Arizona spring training base might pose a logistical problem.
``The more difficult issue is having two teams that train in the same area of the country because when you pull two teams out, you'd like them to be two teams from the same area for spring training scheduling purposes,'' DuPuy said. ``What matters is regular-season schedule, what it means to give up home games and what it takes to get the teams over there and back.''
On other matters:
- DuPuy said commissioner Bud Selig is close to making an announcement resolving the sport's investigation into New York Yankees slugger Jason Giambi, whom Selig persuaded to speak with steroids investigator George Mitchell. Before Giambi agreed to cooperate, Selig threatened to discipline him.
- DuPuy wouldn't say when he expected Mitchell to issue his report. ``He's indicated, I believe publicly, that he hopes it's in the final stages but there's been no timetable discussed,'' DuPuy said.
- Asked whether an official celebration is being planned by MLB to honor Barry Bonds for breaking Hank Aaron's home run record, DuPuy responded: ``Not to my knowledge.''
- DuPuy said applications to examine the Chicago Cubs' financial records had been submitted by prospective buyers.
- On the Florida Marlins' plans for a new ballpark, DuPuy said ``there's been discussions, not movement. We're exploring opportunities.''

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