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Commish to decide Cubs tampering case by opener

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – New baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Monday that major league baseball will make a decision by Opening Day on the nearly 4-month-old tampering charges against the Cubs over the hiring of manager Joe Maddon.

“We will have the Maddon situation resolved before the season begins,” Manfred said during a Cactus League media event at the Arizona Biltmore. “It’s easy to do a quick investigation and reach a quick decision.

“Our preference here, because it’s a very important issue in terms of the way the clubs interact with each other, was to do a very, very thorough investigation and make sure we make the right decision.”

The Tampa Bay Rays alleged tampering by Cubs officials almost immediately after Maddon exercised an opt-out clause in his contract in October. Within a week the Cubs had agreed to terms with Maddon on a five-year, $25-million deal.

Maddon, his agent and the Cubs have been adamant in their denials from the start.

“We’re not going to comment on it directly,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday. “But we’re confident in the outcome, and we’ve obviously cooperated fully.

“Obviously, we’d like a resolution soon. But at the same time it’s not something that distracts us, and we’re confident in the outcome.”