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D’backs down to 3 Phoenix-area sites for spring training facility

The Arizona Diamondbacks have narrowed their search for a new spring training home in metro Phoenix to three locations, including two on Indian tribal land, team Chief Executive Derrick Hall said Wednesday.

Hall said all of the locations are two-team sites, and it’s likely the Diamondbacks would share the facility with the Colorado Rockies. A final decision could come in the next few weeks.

Hall declined to disclose the locations, except for saying two were on tribal land. The cost of the training facility is expected to be around $100 million.

Only the Salt River Pima-Maricopa and Fort McDowell Yavapai communities made offers in late March after the Gila River Indian Community decided to not make a bid. The third location was unknown, but bids also came from Phoenix, Casa Grande and an undisclosed West Valley city. The tribes and Rockies could not immediately be reached for comment.

“In all three cases, no public money would be involved,” Hall said. “It has to be privately funded and financed so it does not affect the taxpayer at all, which makes it challenging in this economy.”

The Diamondbacks and Rockies are looking to leave Tucson after the departure this year of the Chicago White Sox, who relocated to a new facility near Glendale. The teams say being the only two Cactus League clubs in southern Arizona puts them at a disadvantage compared with the other teams that train in the Valley.

Hall said the Diamondbacks would remain at Tucson Electric Park for at least next season, but would like to be in a new home by 2011.

The Diamondbacks are contractually obligated to play at TEP through 2012, while the Rockies have a contract to play at Hi Corbett Field through 2011. But with the departure of the White Sox, both teams have said there are escape clauses to leave early.

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