Chicago Cubs

Report: Second suitor in mix for Cubs

CHICAGO – Speculation about a Cubs sale intensified Tuesday with reports that a second party had stepped up its efforts to buy the team.

The Tribune Co. agreed to terms for selling the team to a group led by investor Marc Utay, Reuters News Service reported Tuesday. That followed Monday’s reports that Tribune Co. had agreed to terms with the Ricketts family, who hope to buy the Cubs and Wrigley Field for about $900 million.

A spokesman for Tribune said Tuesday that no agreements were in place to sell the team.

But a Major League Baseball official told Reuters that a draft agreement with the Ricketts family had been submitted for review. The bid by Utay’s group was “a higher price but less cash upfront,” Reuters reported.

Major League Baseball and a bankruptcy court would have to approve either bid because of Tribune’s bankruptcy status.

Watch and learn: Right-handed pitcher Kevin Hart hopes to emulate teammate Randy Wells’ success after the Cubs tabbed him to fill in for injured starter Ryan Dempster.

“I think it helps all of us young guys just to be able to watch him and be like ‘Hey, the same stuff that works in Triple-A is going to work here,’ ” said Hart, who will start today for the Cubs.

Hart, 26, went 3-0 with a 1.41 ERA in six starts at Triple-A Iowa this season. He is 2-2 with a 4.47 ERA in 33 career relief appearances during parts of three seasons with the Cubs.

“We’re getting him basically almost like we got Wells,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “As long as he’s throwing the ball well and getting people out, we can let him [pitch]. This is a wonderful opportunity for this young man.”

Extra innings: Outfielder Milton Bradley and catcher Geovany Soto each received a day off Tuesday. … Micah Hoffpauir snapped a 0-for-13 skid with a single in the second inning. … Angel Guzman pitched a scoreless seventh inning in his first appearance since returning from the disabled list.

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