IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch says he will return to the United States in two weeks to answer questions from federal authorities investigating the Salt Lake City bid scandal.

"I think my duty as president of the International Olympic Committee is to go there," Samaranch said yesterday. "It is my duty to clarify all the questions. All the questions can be answered very easily at this moment. Our position is very clear. We have nothing to hide."

The IOC announced last month that Samaranch had agreed to submit to a voluntary interview with Justice Department and FBI investigators probing the more than $1 million in improper payments, gifts and other inducements offered to IOC members during Salt Lake's winning bid for the 2002 Winter Games.

Under an agreement with the Justice Department, Samaranch did not have to face questioning during his trip to Washington last month when he testified at a Congressional hearing on Olympic scandals and the IOC's reform efforts. The sides agreed that Samaranch would be interviewed at a mutually convenient date.

IOC Director General Francois Carrard, who has been the middleman in discussions with U.S. officials, said the sides agreed not to disclose the place and date of the session.

Baseball

News and Notes

Owners overhauled baseball's management structure, eliminating the American and National league offices and placing all power in the hands of the commissioner.

Also, the owners approved the $320 million sale of the Cleveland Indians by Richard Jacobs to Larry Dolan.

The changes in the league offices will not affect the way the game is played on the field. The move was expected--AL president Gene Budig and NL president Len Coleman, whose jobs are being eliminated, already had resigned.

Under the changes expected to be approved during the owners' two-day session, Commissioner Bud Selig's ability to fine teams will be increased from $250,000 to $2 million, which should give him more leverage in dealing with balky owners, some of whom have refused to follow his guidelines to consider minorities for all GM and manager openings. . . .

Homer Bush, who hit .320 in his first full season as a starter, agreed with the Toronto Blue Jays on a three-year contract worth $7,375,000. . . . The Boston Red Sox agreed to terms on a minor league deal with free agent outfielder Marty Cordova, who was the American League rookie of the year in 1995 with the Minnesota Twins. . . . Third baseman Charlie Hayes signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets.

Auto Racing

Luyendyk Stays Put

Arie Luyendyk planned to come out of retirement and drive at this year's Indianapolis 500, but Sam Schmidt's recent accident persuaded the two-time Indy winner to stay on the sidelines.

"I had my mind made up that I was going to drive at Indy for Fred [Treadway] and I wanted to do it until Sam's crash," Luyendyk said from his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. "But what happened to Sam just turned me off. So I'll stay retired."

Luyendyk and Schmidt, who was paralyzed from the chest down in the Jan. 6 accident during an Indy Racing League test at Orlando, were teammates for Treadway last May. Schmidt was transferred from Orlando to a rehabilitation facility in St. Louis on Tuesday.

Locally

Book Signing

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Washington Post reporter David Maraniss will discuss and sign copies of his book "When Pride Still Mattered" at Glory Days Grill in Germantown Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m. The grill is located at 18050 Mateny Road, in the Cloppers Mill Village Center off Great Seneca Highway.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center.