Baseball labor talks likely to begin within a year

MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner. (Mar. 13, 2010)

MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner. (Mar. 13, 2010) (Credit: AP)

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TAMPA, Fla. - Are you ready for some baseball labor talks?

Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Michael Weiner, in comments after his annual meeting with Yankees players Sunday, said negotiations to replace the basic agreement could begin before next spring and continue through the 2011 season.

Weiner said his message in the 1-hour, 20-minute meeting was "mostly that it's time to start getting prepared for bargaining. Our contract is up after 2011 and by this time next year, if history is any guide, negotiations will have started already. It's really just preparing them for that."

Weiner said the controversial topic of blood testing for HGH was discussed. He reiterated the union's stance that the science behind blood testing has not caught up with baseball's wish to check for banned substances.

"Our attitude toward any kind of testing, blood or urine, is the same: That we have to make sure the science is sound and with the commissioner's office, our respective experts will continue to investigate whether the science behind the blood test for HGH is 100-percent sound," he said.

Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson, a former player representative with the Tigers, said: "The main thing ideally from where we stand in the Players Association side is if there is a test, we want to make sure it's 100-percent accurate. There's been comments on both sides, some saying it is accurate, some saying it is not accurate.

"We feel we're definitely not going to subject players to something that could be inaccurate. Plain and simple."

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