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AROUND THE MAJORS

Players' Union Opts for Peace for Another Year

August 29, 2000|From Associated Press

Assuring baseball will have labor peace through next season, the players' association on Monday exercised its option to extend the sport's collective bargaining agreement through Oct. 31, 2001.

The union's move had long been expected, since players generally are happy with the deal, which went into effect in November 1996 and was reached only after a 232-day strike wiped out the 1994 World Series. It was the first cancellation of baseball's championship in 90 years.

Players had until Thursday to exercise the one-year option, a provision contained in the current labor contract, which originally covered 1996-2000.

By exercising the option, the union ensured baseball will have six straight years of no canceled games--regular season or spring training--for the first time since 1966-71.

"I am grateful and pleased with the players' association's decision," Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "Nobody understood the heartache and difficulty associated with the strike more than I did."

Many owners, however, have complained the agreement has widened the disparity between the high- and low-revenue markets, with the average salary rising from $1,119,981 at the end of the 1996 season to $1,988,034 on opening day this year.

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A grievance hearing for 22 former major league umpires trying to win back their jobs resumed in Philadelphia with the testimony of former American League official Derek Irwin.

Richie Garcia, Frank Pulli, Terry Tata, Eric Gregg and Joe West are among the 22 umpires who lost their jobs after a mass resignation plan led by Richie Phillips failed.

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Boston sent struggling knuckleballer Tim Wakefield to the bullpen and replaced him in the rotation with Ramon Martinez. . . . Pittsburgh third baseman Aramis Ramirez partially dislocated his left shoulder diving for Ellis Burks' double down the line in the first inning against San Francisco on Monday. . . . Cincinnati pitcher Scott Williamson, bothered by a lower back strain, was put on the 15-day disabled list. . . . A An MRI exam on New York Yankee second baseman Chuck Knoblauch's left knee showed no damage, Manager Joe Torre said. . . . Atlanta pitcher Kevin Millwood wound up with a broken nose and deviated septum when struck by a ball while working on his bunting in the indoor batting cage at Turner Field on Monday.

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