Still without a home for next year, the Montreal Expos are remaining in the NL East under the draft 2005 schedule created by the commissioner's office.

Washington and Northern Virginia are the leading contenders to land the team, baseball officials have said in recent weeks. Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, has said the relocation committee has not eliminated any of the bidders, which include Las Vegas; Monterrey, Mexico; Norfolk; and Portland, Ore.

A copy of the draft schedule was given to the players' association, and the Expos are slated to remain in the NL East, where they've been since they started play in 1969. That would make travel more difficult if they are moved off the East Coast.

If a decision is made soon, there still would be time to alter the schedule.

* TRADE: The Giants acquired veteran RHP Dave Burba from the Brewers for minor league LHP Josh Habel. Burba was 3-1 with two saves and a 4.08 ERA with the Brewers this season, and is 114-87 in 15 major league seasons with Seattle, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Texas and Milwaukee. Burba pitched for San Francisco between 1992-95 and went 10-3 during the team's pennant run in 1993.

* SUSPENSIONS: Cubs reliever Kent Mercker and Astros RHP Dan Wheeler were each suspended for three games after a testy series last weekend. Astros Manager Phil Garner was suspended for one game. All three were fined undisclosed amounts by Bob Watson, vice president of on-field operations for MLB.

-- From News Services