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National League Gives Rieker Full-Time Job

St. Louisan Richard Rieker, who has been working as a National League umpire since John McSherry died from a heart attack on opening day, was hired Tuesday as a full-time umpire.

Rieker, 34, has spent 296 days in the NL as a vacation replacement duri ng the past three seasons. He has been an American Association umpire since 1986 following stints in the Eastern League (1985-86) and the Midwest League (1983-84). Rieker is a 1984 graduate of Missouri with a degree in business administration. "I am real excited about this opportunity," said Rieker. "This has been a goal of mine since I started umpiring in 1983. It is the realization of a dream to be a major-league umpire." Rieker will serve as one of four "floater" umpires who are not assigned to a particular crew but fill in for various vacationing or ill umpires. BASEBALL Springfield, Mo., Is Trying Again A businessman has offered to donate land valued at $2 million and is working with a Texas group to bring a minor-league baseball team to Springfield, Mo., as part of the Texas League expansion effort in 1999. The businessman, Larry Lipscomb, said he was seeking local investors to help raise the $4.5 million needed to buy a Class AA expansion team. However, Springfield must come up with a plan by August to pay for a stadium. Lipscomb proposes a 1/8-cent sales tax increase to fund a park for about $9 million. Laser surgery on Kirby Puckett's right eye is expected to help the Minnesota Twins' star regain normal vision, not cure the problem immediately. Puckett, who has missed the first two weeks of the season with an early form of glaucoma, was scheduled for the procedure today. FOOTBALL Seahawks Owner Accused Of Assault Ken Behring is being sued by a former employee who says the Seattle Seahawks owner assaulted her twice in January and that sexual harassment was pervasive in the office. Patricia Parker, who managed finances for several of his companies, filed the civil suit Monday in Contra Costa County, Calif. A spokeswoman for Behring said he denied the allegations. A judge has ordered former St. …