Big League Stew

Spring headlines: Steve Cohen adds billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong to Dodgers bid

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Baseball is back! Here at Big League Stew, we'll take a quick dash around the league each morning in an attempt to keep you updated on all the springtime story lines.

• Steve Cohen seems to be making all of the right moves to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. First, he put up a lot of cash. Then, he added some baseball credibility. Now, he's enlisted another billionaire to help with his bid.

Reporter Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes on Sunday that Cohen has added Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong as a minority partner to his potential ownership group. Cohen recently bid around $1.6 billion for the Dodgers, reportedly using his own money, and did it mostly with cash. Tony La Russa, former manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, also would get a front-office position with Cohen's Dodgers.

As the richest man in Los Angeles, Soon-Shiong already owns a piece of the Los Angeles Lakers he bought from Magic Johnson — who also is in the running to buy the Dodgers. Born in South Africa to Chinese immigrant parents, Soon-Shiong made his fortune as a pioneering surgeon and biotech investor. Soon-Shiong and Cohen — a hedge-fund billionaire from the East Coast — combine for a net worth in excess of $15 billion, if valuations by Forbes magazine are correct. h/t: Dodger Thoughts.

[Related: Tim Lincecum puts Clayton Kershaw in headlock on magazine cover]

• A trial to determine how much money Mets ownership owes in the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme mess begins Monday. Up to $303 million is at stake, MLB.com reports:

With U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff presiding, a jury of nine will determine whether the defendants can prove they were not "willfully blind" to Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

[...]

Last week, Rakoff ordered that the defendants and not the plaintiff will have the burden of proof, meaning lawyers for the defendants will be charged with proving Wilpon and Katz knew nothing of Madoff's illegal investments and that there were no warning signs they ignored

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• After leaving a game against Cleveland on Sunday because of a sore right elbow, Kansas City Royals closer Joakim Soria says, "Oh, yeah, I'm worried." (via the Kansas City Star). He has allowed seven runs and 10 hits over 3 1/3 innings so far, which doesn't count a bad performance in a "B" game against mostly minor leaguers. Soria, who had Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in 2003, doesn't think it's that serious. Greg Holland and Jonathan Broxton would be candidates to close if Soria does not.

• Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, 84 years old, is scaling back his road trips in 2012. No more visits to Denver (via ESPN Los Angeles) — only intrastate road games, plus Arizona.

• Reporter Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area writes that scouts wonder if left-hander Madison Bumgarner (and not Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain) will be the San Francisco Giants best starter in 2012.

• Zack Greinke has been working on a mechanical change in his delivery for the Milwaukee Brewers, writes Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, and he likes the results so far.

Spring Training has arrived! Follow Dave on Twitter — @AnswerDave — and engage The Stew on Facebook for your fill of Grapefruit and Cactus!

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