Players get negotiation update

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Fehr dismisses rumors of All-Star Game boycott

meeting set for today

March 11, 2002|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Orioles didn't take the field for pre-game warm-ups yesterday until 11 a.m. because of a two-hour meeting with Donald Fehr, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Along with the usual housekeeping, part of Fehr's agenda was reserved for updating the club on negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. Speaking later with reporters, he tried to defuse rumors that the players might consider boycotting the All-Star Game in Milwaukee.

"It hasn't been discussed. Nobody's talked about anything like that," Fehr said. "In all the meetings and discussions, you indicate that setting a strike date is a last resort and you hope that you don't get to that.

"There hasn't been a discussion about that. Nobody has sat down and talked about it. It's just way premature and the players all know that."

Fehr has a meeting scheduled today with the owners' negotiating team, as the two sides try to prevent the sport's ninth work stoppage since 1972.

"Nobody wants a work stoppage, at least on the players' side. I hope not on the owners' side," he said. "You do everything you can to avoid it. You keep negotiating. You don't make decisions about that unless you have to. We're nowhere close to that, as far as I can tell. Hopefully we'll never get there."

Injury updates

Infielder Brian Roberts played for the first time since March 1 when he walked as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. He scored from first base on a double by Luis Garcia.

Roberts had been taking grounders and swinging at balls flipped to him by hitting coach Terry Crowley while trying to return from a hyperextended right elbow. He took live batting practice yesterday and received clearance to play.

Hoping to avoid surgery to remove bone chips, Roberts is listed as a reserve for today's B game and regular game against the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla.

Meanwhile, Tony Batista returned to third base after missing the past three games with recurring headaches. A magnetic resonance imaging on Saturday was negative.

O's Hall of Fame

Former pitchers Dennis Martinez and Hoyt Wilhelm, and late public address announcer Rex Barney have been named as 2002 inductees into the Orioles' Hall of Fame.

Martinez, the first Nicaraguan to play in the majors, spent the first 11 seasons of his 22-year career with the Orioles. He went 108-93 with a 4.16 ERA from 1976 to 1986, ranking among the club's all-time leader in wins, losses, innings (1,775 1/3 ) and strikeouts (858). Martinez holds the major-league record for most victories by a Latin American player (245), and threw a perfect game for the Montreal Expos on July 28, 1991.

A knuckleballer, Wilhelm threw the first no-hitter in modern-day Orioles history and was 43-39 with a 2.42 ERA in four seasons. In 1959, Wilhelm tied the then-club record for most wins with 15 while striking out 139 in 226 innings. His 2.19 ERA led the American League, making him the first pitcher in baseball history to win ERA titles in both leagues. He was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1985.

Barney became the Orioles' full-time PA announcer in 1974, and held the job until his death on Aug. 11, 1997. He pitched six seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers, throwing a no-hitter against the New York Giants in 1948.

The induction ceremony will take place before the Aug. 18 game against Detroit. This year's class brings the membership to 47. ...

Former Orioles reliever Alan Mills, who signed with Montreal last week, didn't make yesterday's trip.

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