No baseball on Labor Day for first time since 1894

The Associated Press

NEW YORK Renewed talks, much less a settlement of the baseball strike, didn't seem imminent Thursday.

As the strike completed its third week, federal mediators didn't see any purpose in more bargaining sessions.

"There's no news on my end," mediator John Martin said from his office in Boston. "We talk every day with them."

The only activity Thursday involved additional conflict. With active rosters allowed to expand to 40 on Sept. 1, the Pittsburgh Pirates recalled pitcher Randy Tomlin, who had been on the disabled list at Buffalo of the American Association. The move put the pitcher on strike and halted his $975,000 salary, which comes to $5,328 per day.

Eugene Orza, the No. 2 official of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said the union will file both a default notice and a grievance against the Pirates.

After the union files a default notice, the team would have 10 days to correct the default or risk having arbitrator George Nicolau declare the player a free agent. Nicolau also would decide if the team must pay Tomlin during the period he is on strike.

Orza said the union also will file a default notice and grievance over the Texas Rangers' recall of infielder Jeff Huson, which was announced Wednesday night.

Texas put two more players on strike Thursday, recalling outfielder David Hulse from Oklahoma City and purchasing the contract of outfielder Rob Ducey from the Triple A club. Orza said he would speak with the two before deciding how the union will react in their cases.

Later in the day, the Chicago Cubs announced the recall of pitcher Steve Trachsel from Iowa of the American Association.

The strike canceled nine more games Thursday, raising the total to 269, nearly 12 percent of the season. Major league baseball won't be played on Labor Day for the first time since it became a national holiday in 1894.

"Nothing has changed of which I am aware," union head Donald Fehr said.

Richard Ravitch, management's negotiator, said he had a conversation early in the day with John Calhoun Wells, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

"It was a very brief one in which he just told me about his meeting with Don and said he didn't come out of it feeling it would be useful to call a joint meeting at this point," Ravitch said.

While baseball owners canceled their quarterly meeting, which had been scheduled for next week in Detroit, Fehr said the players' association is contemplating an executive board meeting in New York on Sept. 12 and 13.

"I'm sure at that meeting we'll talk about what we'll do if there isn't a settlement," he said.

A meeting of the directors of the players' benefit plan also is scheduled for Sept. 12.

Fehr said he doesn't anticipate any developments in the union's dealings with owners.

"If this goes past the end of the season, I don't expect they'll be interested in discussing much with us until next June," he said, adding he was picking that month only because it was a date far in the future.

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