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Eckersley a Free Agent, but A's Want Him Back

October 21, 1994|From Staff and Wire Reports

The Oakland Athletics will not exercise their $4-million option on reliever Dennis Eckersley, 40, making him eligible for free agency.

The A's apparently would like him back at a lower salary.

"We would love to have Dennis back in 1995, and we will sit down soon with Dennis and his agent to discuss that possibility," General Manager Sandy Alderson said.

Former Dodger Bob Welch also was not offered arbitration.

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Ten prominent player agents met for more than five hours with officials of the baseball players' union in New York and rejected the idea of refusing to let players sign contracts if the owners unilaterally implement a salary cap.

"There will be no prohibition on players signing if they like the deal," an agent said.

Management, however, has reserved the right to implement a 45-day freeze on signings, which the union would challenge via grievance.

Special mediator William J. Usery talked with union and management representatives, but no negotiating meeting was scheduled.

John Hart, principal architect of the Cleveland Indians' turnaround, received a five-year contract to remain general manager through 1999.

Pro Basketball

Dennis Rodman of the San Antonio Spurs, sidelined because of a sore knee and arch, did not show up for an exhibition game against the Milwaukee Bucks at San Antonio and was fined a team-record $15,000, a Spur spokesman said.

Kevin Willis ended his six-day holdout and returned to the Atlanta Hawks, saying he had accomplished his goal of addressing the deferred compensation in his contract even though its terms were unchanged.

Hockey

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, making the first move to reopen stalled negotiations with the players' association, called union chief Bob Goodenow but did not get a return call.

The two haven't spoken since Oct. 11, when the league rejected the players' last proposal.

The lockout will result in a truncated season if an agreement is reached, NHL Senior Vice President Jeff Pash said. However, cancellations won't be officially announced until today or Monday.

College Basketball

Devin Gray of Clemson, a 6-foot-6 forward who had a heart attack six months ago, has been given medical clearance to play this season.

Amid Boston Globe reports that four Massachusetts players, including star sophomore center Marcus Camby, have been put on academic probation, university President Michael Hooker said he will check the records and "take whatever corrective measures are needed."

Miscellany

Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez, who had her quarterfinal moved up a day in the Brighton International tournament in England to fly to her coach's wedding today in Switzerland and back, was upset, 6-1, 6-3, by Latvia's Larisa Neiland. . . . U.S. Open champion Ernie Els said that he will leave the European Tour and focus on the U.S. PGA Tour next year.

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