Players union prefers San Juan

CHICAGO -- The commissioner's office hopes to decide by next week whether the Montreal Expos will move 22 home games to San Juan or Monterrey in 2004.

The players' association and Major League Baseball have been
negotiating a deal that would allow Expos' home games to be moved
for a second straight season. The union has said Puerto Rico is its
preferred destination.

Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, said following
Thursday's owners' meeting that he hopes an agreement will be
finalized "within 36 to 72 hours. Or 54 hours, somewhere in that

When baseball's other 29 teams bought the Expos before the 2002
season, the hope was to have the team in a new home in time for
2003. Last January, DuPuy said baseball hoped to find a permanent
home for the team in 2004, but on Thursday he finally acknowledged
that no longer is possible.

The team is being sought by Northern Virginia; Portland, Ore.;
and Washington, D.C. However, none has been able to complete
financing for a new ballpark.

DuPuy said he has "every expectation" the Expos will be moved
before the 2005 season.

"Our goal is to find an economically viable location for the
Expos that will ensure the successful operation of a major league
franchise for decades to come," DuPuy said.