From Thursday’s Columbus Dispatch :

The New York Yankees announced today that they will not renew their deal with the Columbus Clippers baseball team, which ended with the Clippers’ regular season Sept. 4.

Columbus Baseball Team Inc. is set to begin negotiations with available Major League Baseball teams Saturday and has until Sept. 30 to sign with another major-league club. Major league teams currently without triple-A affiliations include the New York Mets, Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles.

“I can guarantee there will be baseball in Columbus next season,” Clippers president Ken Schnacke said.

It is believed that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman wants his triple-A team closer to New York. Scranton, Pa., approximately 120 miles west of New York City, is available since the Philadelphia Phillies allowed their contract to lapse. The team currently known as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barrons will play in Allentown in 2008, and Philadelphia is rumored to be planning to play its top minor-league team in Ottawa for the 2007 season.

The Astros’ Double-A affiliate Corpus Christi Hooks are a game away from claiming the Texas League title, taking a 2-1 series lead with Thursday’s 9-3 defeat of Wichita. Royals prospect Luke Hochevar allowed 6 runs over the first two innings in the loss, a week after striking out 7 over 5 innings in the Wranglers’ series clincher against Tulsa.