The artificial turf is missing, leaving a concrete floor at barren Olympic Stadium and an even harder truth in Montreal: The Expos are gone. Since the end of the season, Claude...

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MONTREAL — The artificial turf is missing, leaving a concrete floor at barren Olympic Stadium and an even harder truth in Montreal: The Expos are gone.

Since the end of the season, Claude Delorme, the Expos’ executive vice president for business affairs, has overseen the task of winding up the team’s operations in Montreal.

“There’s no doubt that we prolonged our life,” Delorme said. “We were able to extend ourselves a few extra years that people didn’t think we would.”

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Delorme’s unenviable new role began in earnest Sept. 29, when team president Tony Tavares confirmed the franchise’s long-anticipated move to Washington, D.C., for next year. The Expos played their final game at Olympic Stadium that night, a 9-1 loss to Florida.

The protective screen behind home plate is rolled up, though it remains suspended from the desolate stadium’s roof — for the moment. The padded blue outfield walls — 325 feet in the corners, and 404 feet to center — have been placed in storage in the bowels of the building.

A familiar reminder of the longest homer in stadium history has been removed. There is an empty space where Seat 13 used to be in Section 351, Row C in the stadium’s distant middle deck. The seat that marked Willie Stargell’s 535-foot homer off Wayne Twitchell on May 20, 1978, has gone to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Lima signs with Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Right-hander Jose Lima rejoined the Kansas City Royals when he agreed to a one-year contract yesterday.

Lima, who pitched for the Royals in 2003, spent this year with the Los Angeles Dodgers, going 13-5 with a 4.07 earned-run average. He walked 34 and struck out 93 in 170-1/3 innings.

In 12 major-league seasons, Lima is 84-82 with a 5.00 ERA. One of the 32-year-old’s best stretches came in 1998 and ’99, when he went 16-8 and 21-10, respectively, for the Houston Astros.