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Players' union fine with Mets' voluntary workouts, payroll

Tony Clark, left, the newly named executive director

Tony Clark, left, the newly named executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, finds humor in a question during a news conference at the organizations' annual meeting in San Diego. (Dec. 3, 2013) Credit: AP

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - The Mets and the players' union appear to be on good terms.

During his annual tour of spring training camps, union head Tony Clark said players have no issues with voluntary workouts that came under scrutiny in the offseason. Nor does the union feel the need to address the team's payroll, which remains in the $100-million range.

Speaking generally about payroll figures for teams around the league, Clark said, "We will interject ourselves where necessary."

Meanwhile, Clark raised no issue with players being charged by the Mets for voluntary workouts with team fitness adviser Mike Barwis.

"There are always concerns when voluntary doesn't seem like voluntary," Clark said.

However, after looking into the matter, the union was satisfied that players retained a choice about whether to participate.

Said Clark: "Based on what we heard initially, based on the adjustments or considerations that were made during the offseason and the opportunities that were provided, guys were able to make the decisions that they wanted to make."

Hot start

Kirk Nieuwenhuis continued what has been a sizzling start, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored in the Mets' 6-3 loss to the Red Sox on Sunday. The outfielder, who is hitting .600, also contributed a running catch.

"He's hit the ball great in camp," manager Terry Collins said.

Nieuwenhuis has the inside track for a spot on the bench as an extra outfielder. He's competing primarily with Matt den Dekker for the job.

Extra bases

Travis d'Arnaud left the game when he was spiked on the left ring finger while breaking up a double play. He did not need stitches . . . Daniel Murphy reported no issues after taking batting practice for the first time since Friday. Murphy had been struck on the right hand by a pitch, leaving a bruise that kept him out of game action Saturday and Sunday . . . Lucas Duda will take batting practice Monday for the first time in more than three weeks. He has been limited by a strained intercostal muscle.

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