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Yankees may end afilliation with Columbus Clippers

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Yankees might drop Columbus as top minor league affiliateSeptember 15, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The New York Yankees might end their 28-year affiliation with the Columbus and align with another Triple-A team.

The International League team said Friday the Yankees have informed them of their intentions.

"While we have enjoyed working with the New York Yankees, we also understand that baseball is a business and the Yankees have every right to explore new relationships that may be better suited for the goals of their organization," Ken Schnacke, president and general manager of the Clippers, said in a statement.

The Clippers said their board of trustees voted to begin negotiations for an affiliation with another club. The Clippers have until Sept. 30 to sign a new deal.

The New York Mets, Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles do not have an affiliate. The Philadelphia Phillies have spoken to Ottawa about making the Lynx their top farm club next season.

Schnacke said in an interview the Clippers will be back next year regardless of what happens with the Yankees.

"The only difference will be where players come from," he said. Columbus finished its season Sept. 4, closing with a 69-73 record in the West Division. Most of the Yankees' best farm products the past three decades played for the Clippers. The team was once among the top draws in the minors until the wave of new stadiums. The Clippers play at 74-year-old Cooper Stadium. A $55 million stadium will be built near the brick-and-glass home of the city's NHL team, the Columbus Blue Jackets. The baseball stadium is expected to open in July 2008.

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