MLB.com trims workforce from 450

LAS VEGAS -- Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the company that runs the sport's highly successful Internet division, laid off about 4.5 percent of its workers last week.

MLBAM president Bob Bowman said Monday there were approximately 20 layoffs among a staff that had been at 450. Several MLBAM employees said they understood the total number of employees being let go was closer to 30, a figure Bowman disputed.

"We want to focus more on our core business and the game and the team and the fans and not on our studio," Bowman said during a telephone interview. "We've been growing for eight years, and now was a time to trim."

Among the employees let go was MLB.com's reporter who covered the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies. Bowman said he will be replaced.

Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, said last month that central baseball's expense budget for 2009 would remain the same as this year. MLB officials have said the sport took in a record $6.5 billion in revenue this season.

"As the weeks turn, we're going to see where the economy goes. None of us have been through this before," Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "We have to be realistic -- realistic that we really don't know."

Baseball executives have becomes fixated on the economy this offseason.

"The first thing I do when I get up in the morning is turn on the TV and go straight to Bloomberg to see the market," Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane said.