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Cubs Fire Manager

  • In this photo provided by Fitzpatrick Communications, Anthony Bosch is escorted by Major League Baseball security person Ric Burnham, right, at MLB headquarters in New York, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013. Bosch is the founder of the now-closed Biogenesis of America. In a hearing room before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, lawyers for the New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will argue why the 211-game suspension imposed by Major League Baseball on Aug. 5 should be overturned. Rodriguez was suspended for his involvement with the now-closed Biogenesis of America clinic in Coral Gables, Fla.  (AP Photo/Fitzpatrick Communications)

    In this photo provided by Fitzpatrick Communications, Anthony Bosch is escorted by Major League Baseball security person Ric Burnham, right, at MLB headquarters in New York, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013. Bosch is the founder of the now-closed Biogenesis of America. In a hearing room before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, lawyers for the New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will argue why the 211-game suspension imposed by Major League Baseball on Aug. 5 should be overturned. Rodriguez was suspended for his involvement with the now-closed Biogenesis of America clinic in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Fitzpatrick Communications)

  • In this photo provided by Fitzpatrick Communications, Anthony Bosch is escorted by Major League Baseball security person Ric Burnham, right, at MLB headquarters in New York, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013. Bosch is the founder of the now-closed Biogenesis of America. In a hearing room before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, lawyers for the New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will argue why the 211-game suspension imposed by Major League Baseball on Aug. 5 should be overturned. Rodriguez was suspended for his involvement with the now-closed Biogenesis of America clinic in Coral Gables, Fla.  (AP Photo/Fitzpatrick Communications)

    In this photo provided by Fitzpatrick Communications, Anthony Bosch is escorted by Major League Baseball security person Ric Burnham, right, at MLB headquarters in New York, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013. Bosch is the founder of the now-closed Biogenesis of America. In a hearing room before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, lawyers for the New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will argue why the 211-game suspension imposed by Major League Baseball on Aug. 5 should be overturned. Rodriguez was suspended for his involvement with the now-closed Biogenesis of America clinic in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Fitzpatrick Communications)

  • In this photo provided by Fitzpatrick Communications, Anthony Bosch is escorted by Major League Baseball security person Ric Burnham, right, at MLB headquarters in New York, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013. Bosch is the founder of the now-closed Biogenesis of America. In a hearing room before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, lawyers for the New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will argue why the 211-game suspension imposed by Major League Baseball on Aug. 5 should be overturned. Rodriguez was suspended for his involvement with the now-closed Biogenesis of America clinic in Coral Gables, Fla.  (AP Photo/Fitzpatrick Communications)
  • In this photo provided by Fitzpatrick Communications, Anthony Bosch is escorted by Major League Baseball security person Ric Burnham, right, at MLB headquarters in New York, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013. Bosch is the founder of the now-closed Biogenesis of America. In a hearing room before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, lawyers for the New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will argue why the 211-game suspension imposed by Major League Baseball on Aug. 5 should be overturned. Rodriguez was suspended for his involvement with the now-closed Biogenesis of America clinic in Coral Gables, Fla.  (AP Photo/Fitzpatrick Communications)

Chicago — Theo Epstein is proud of the talent in the Chicago Cubs’ minor league system. The president of baseball operations thinks Dale Sveum is going to be a successful manager one day.

He just doesn’t think Sveum is the right guy to help all those prospects become successful major leaguers.

The Cubs fired Sveum on Monday after finishing last in the NL Central for the first time in seven years, ending a two-year run that produced more losses than any other stretch in the team’s cursed history.

“It’s absolutely imperative that we create the best environment possible for young players to come up here, continue to learn, continue to develop and thrive at the big league level and win, ultimately,” Epstein said during an afternoon news conference. “And that’s not an easy thing to do.

“A big part of the reason why we’re here today is because we took a good hard look at that and we decided that we needed to try to get it right before they come up.”

Sveum was among Epstein’s first hires after the executive came over from the Boston Red Sox in 2011. He had little experience as a manager when he agreed to take the job, and he knew the Cubs were at the very beginning of a top-to-bottom overhaul that they hoped would transform them into perennial contenders.

He just thought he would get more time to make it work.

“You come in and you get a job like this and you want to see it through and so you’re very disappointed you didn’t get to really get anything started,” Sveum said in a parking lot outside Wrigley Field.

Epstein said previous managing experience will be a point of emphasis in their search, and he plans to complete the process before the general manager meetings in early November.

Sveum’s dismissal likely will ramp up speculation surrounding the status of Yankees manager Joe Girardi, a Peoria, Ill., native who played college ball at nearby Northwestern. The former Cubs catcher just completed the final season of his contract with New York, but he downplayed his connection to Chicago over the weekend.

Twins Keep Gardenhire

Minneapolis — The Minnesota Twins and manager Ron Gardenhire have agreed on a two-year contract extension through the 2015 season.

Gardenhire was in the final year of his contract and his 12 years with the Twins make him the second-longest tenured manager in the big leagues.

With three straight seasons of at least 93 losses, Gardenhire’s job was thought to be in jeopardy. Instead, the Twins brought back the 2010 AL manager of the year and his entire staff, too.

Pirates’ McCutchen
Hit by Ball, Deemed OK

Pittsburgh — Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen gave the franchise a brief scare on Monday when a ball hit him in the head during batting practice.

The MVP candidate was shagging fly balls when an unnamed teammate distracted him. McCutchen says when he turned his head a ball off the bat of Jordy Mercer hopped off the ground and caught him around his right ear.

McCutchen walked off the field under his own power and said he should be fine to play in tonight’s NL wild-card game against Cincinnati. McCutchen joked he owes the ball an apology after it got the worst end of the collision.

A-Rod Appeal Begins

New York — The grievance to overturn Alex Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension began Monday before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.

The New York Yankees third baseman was wearing a business suit and accompanied by lawyers when he arrived for the session at Major League Baseball’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan.

A three-time AL MVP, Rodriguez was suspended Aug. 5 for alleged violations of baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract. Because he’s a first offender under the drug program and the players’ association filed a grievance to force an appeal, a suspension can’t start until it is upheld by an arbitrator.

The union argues the discipline is without just cause and is excessive. If the case doesn’t settle, a decision by Horowitz is expected this winter.

Rodriguez was among 14 players penalized by MLB this year following the sport’s investigation of Biogenesis of America, a closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Fla., accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs. The others accepted their penalties, including former NL MVP Ryan Braun, who missed the season’s final 65 games.

Biogenesis head Anthony Bosch was at the hearing to testify — a publicist released a photo of him in a hallway outside MLB’s conference rooms.

In Florida, state authorities said they had started a criminal investigation of the clinic.

“A subpoena was issued for documents, and we are looking into several areas of state interest,” said Ed Griffith, spokesman for Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

Existence of the state prosecutors’ criminal subpoena was disclosed at a recent hearing in MLB’s lawsuit in Miami against Biogenesis, also pending in Miami-Dade County court. It’s not known whom the subpoena targeted or what specific documents are being sought.

A federal probe involves the sources of drugs the clinic is accused of selling to players.

AP-BBO-Drug-Investigation,312

Fla. investigation launched into MLB drug clinic

Eds: Updates with quotes, details and background.

By CURT ANDERSON

AP Legal Affairs Writer

MIAMI — State authorities in Florida have launched a criminal investigation into the now-closed clinic at the center of Major League Baseball’s latest performance-enhancing drug scandal, a spokesman for Miami-Dade County’s chief prosecutor said Monday.

“A subpoena was issued for documents and we are looking into several areas of state interest,” said Ed Griffith, spokesman for State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

Griffith would not go into further specifics but said the state probe into Biogenesis of America and its former chief, Anthony Bosch, differed from a federal grand jury investigation into the clinic. The federal probe involves the sources of drugs the clinic is accused of selling to players, most notably one-time MVP Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers and longtime star Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees.

Existence of the state prosecutors’ criminal subpoena was disclosed at a recent hearing of MLB’s lawsuit in Miami against Biogenesis, also pending in Miami-Dade County court. It’s not known who the subpoena targeted or what specific documents are being sought.

MLB claims in the lawsuit that Biogenesis and Bosch, along with others, created a violation of the players’ contracts by supplying them with banned substances. It seeks unspecified damages, although it’s unlikely that Bosch or others involved in the clinic have much in the way of resources.

Disclosure of the latest criminal investigation came on the same day that Rodriguez, a three-time American League Most Valuable Player, began his appeal of MLB’s 211-game suspension stemming from the Biogenesis case. The players’ union says that penalty is excessive, which an arbitrator must decide.

Earlier this year, Braun accepted a 65-game suspension for doping in the Biogenesis case, the first of several players linked to the clinic to do so. Braun starred at the University of Miami, a short distance from the Biogenesis office, before his major league career.

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Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Miamicurt