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Report: MLB probe focusing on insurance

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NEW YORK (AP)

The New York Times is reporting that Major League Baseball is focusing on leaked financial documents in an investigation on insurance companies that do business with clubs.

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The paper report on its website Tuesday night cited two anonymous MLB executives.

The Times reported the companies under investigation sell liability insurance for top-level team executives and directors, not players.

On Sunday, documents leaked to the Associated Press showed that the cellar-dwelling Pittsburgh Pirates made nearly $29.4 million in 2007 and 2008. 

A day later, Florida Marlins' financial statements acquired by Deadspin.com showed the club netted $49 million during the two seasons, with operating income of $37.8 million in 2008 and $11.1 million in 2009.

According to The Times, six teams' documents were leaked. Records from the Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels, Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers have also been posted on Deadspin.com.

An MLB spokesman declined to comment to The Times on the specifics of the investigation. 

The Pirates' documents offer a rare peek inside a team that made money by getting slightly less than half its income (about $70 million) from MLB sources — including revenue sharing, network TV, major league merchandise sales and MLB's website. The club's earnings were included in nearly 40 pages of statements that the Pirates submitted to Major League Baseball, which were subsequently obtained by The Associated Press.

Team officials briefed local reporters on portions of the material Sunday.

The AP wasn't invited to the session, which owner Bob Nutting said was ''aimed at the recent leak.''

The Pirates issued a statement Sunday, saying it was wrong for the financial statements to have been released to the AP.

''Someone with access to the Club's financial statements has breached his/her fiduciary obligation to the Club by providing a copy of the Club's audited financial statements for the 2007 and 2008 seasons to the Associated Press,'' the statement read. ''The Club is a private company that has no obligation to publicly report its financial results and, like most private companies, has consistently declined to do so.''

Marlins president David Samson said the leaking of the documents was a crime.

While Samson said the financial statements support what he has said in the past, he said he was disappointed the numbers had been made public. When asked why, he said: ''It's just that we're a private company. ... 'Disappointed' is the exact word. Not angry. Not putting our head in the sand. Not denying it. Not kicking and screaming like petulant children. Disappointed.''

''It will be followed up intensely by Major League Baseball and its member clubs,'' he said.

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