Selig to join talks

Players say drug-testing deal is finalized

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Two days before players were scheduled to strike, baseball commissioner Bud Selig planned to leave Milwaukee and head to the talks.

The sides met three times Tuesday, holding two-on-two discussions instead of trading formal proposals among the full negotiating committees.

"The drug testing is a done deal," Los Angeles Dodgers player representative Paul Lo Duca said. "We agreed on that, and that's great. They're getting closer and closer."


Rob Manfred, management's top labor lawyer, wouldn't say if owners agreed to the testing plan.

"We made progress on the drug issue," he said. "Right now, I'm not confirming or denying any agreements, proposals or potential agreements."

While there were upbeat assessments, some teams made strike preparations.

The Chicago White Sox called off their Thursday charter to Detroit and said they would travel Friday only if there isn't a walkout. Boston rescheduled its charter to Cleveland for Friday, too, and Atlanta will remain in Pittsburgh an extra day. But St. Louis will travel Thursday for the following day's game at the Chicago Cubs, which would be the first game affected by a strike.

Selig didn't know when the last moment would be for a settlement that would enable the schedule to remain uninterrupted.

"The closer you get to the date, it's tougher," he said from his home in Milwaukee.

Negotiators met briefly Tuesday morning, and players held a conference call with the union staff. The sides, trying to avert baseball's ninth work stoppage since 1972, held a long session in the afternoon and met late at night for about 45 minutes before recessing.

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