PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) Houston Astros owner Jim Crane said he will meet with Palm Beach County officials Thursday to discuss potential sites for a new spring training facility.
The Astros and Toronto Blue Jays appeared to have a deal in place to build a complex in Palm Beach Gardens, but that fell through in January after complaints from nearby residents.
''We're still looking hard,'' said Crane, who toured Tradition Field, the Mets' spring training home, before the Astros-Mets game Tuesday. ''We have (20)15 and `16 still left on our contract (at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee), so we've got to be able to do something, hopefully by `17, if we're going to do something. We probably have to have a deal signed by the end of this year to make sure we have enough time to get something built.''
He said he believed county officials had three other proposed sites. County Commissioner Hal Valeche said Tuesday his staff had not given him a list of possible sites and hoped there would be more than three viable locations for a two-team facility.
While the Washington Nationals have emerged as a likely partner with the Astros, Crane said the Blue Jays cannot be ruled out.
Crane also said the Astros are still looking into sites in Arizona and could renew the lease in Kissimmee, with the condition that upgrades are made.
''I think in the next six months we need to get something signed if we're going to make a move,'' he said. ''Certainly, they would like us to stay there and there could be some upgrades there, if that's where we end up. We're still looking into Arizona. All the doors are open, we hope one of them shuts.''