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Aaron: Ban should be upheld

He finds Rose's confession insincere

Hank Aaron is adamant: Pete Rose has no place in the Hall of Fame, or anywhere in baseball. The all-time home run leader harshly criticized the career hit king for an insincere confession, saying Rose should not be reinstated after admitting he bet on the game.

"During these past few days, I've looked at Pete on television, and he hasn't given any signs of an honest confession," Aaron told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an interview published in yesterday's editions. "Plus, I've seen absolutely no truth whatsoever in what he's saying."

Aaron, a vice president with the Atlanta Braves, said Rose should be treated like anyone else who gambles on games.

"I just think it's hogwash to say that he should be put back into the game just because the public wants it," Aaron said. "A rule is a rule, and the rule is on every clubhouse door that you can't bet on baseball. It doesn't say that you're excluded if you have 4,000 hits or 700 home runs."

Rose admitted betting on baseball while managing the Cincinnati Reds in the 1980s. He accepted a lifetime ban from the game, which bars him from consideration for the Hall of Fame.

Wood staying put

Righthander Kerry Wood agreed to a $9.75 million, one-year contract with the Cubs, who hope to work out a multiyear deal. Wood filed for arbitration Thursday. By signing the 26-year-old fireballer to the one-year deal now, the Cubs avoid having to exchange salary figures Tuesday in arbitration. "We feel we'll have a multiyear deal done before spring training," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said . . . Ivan Rodriguez has been offered a $40 million, four-year contract by the Tigers, a baseball source told The Associated Press. The 10-time All-Star catcher and his agent, Scott Boras, were in Detroit Thursday, according to the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "We continue to explore the situation," Tigers president and GM Dave Dombrowski said. "I don't expect anything imminently." . . . Pirates righthander Kris Benson threw off a mound for the first time since July, then pronounced himself healed from the shoulder injury that cut short his 2003 season. "I'm 100 percent, no doubt about it," Benson said . . . Two former Red Sox who spent lots of time on the injured list last season signed minor league deals -- free agent first baseman/outfielder Jeremy Giambi hooked on with the Dodgers, and free agent righthander Robert Person signed with the White Sox. The Dodgers also signed righthander Rick White to a minor league deal . . . Righthander Francisco Cordero, second on the Rangers in saves last season with 15, agreed to a $2 million, one-year contract with Texas . . . The Mets and free agent Todd Zeile reached a preliminary agreement on a contract, contingent on the 15-year veteran infielder passing a physical . . . Lefthander Scott Stewart and the Indians agreed to a $850,000, one-year contact, avoiding salary arbitration . . . Veteran outfielder Orlando Palmeiro agreed to a $750,000, one-year contract with the Astros . . . Shortstop Rey Ordonez agreed to a minor league contract with the Padres. He'll earn $650,000 if he makes the team; Ordonez made $6.25 million last year . . . Marlins catcher Ramon Castro pleaded innocent to charges he raped a woman in his Pittsburgh hotel room last August. A trial date is expected to be set Feb. 6.

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