Selig testifies on first day of Alvarez case
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HOUSTON -- This could take a while.
Bud Selig, Major League Baseball's commissioner, was one of just two witnesses called on the first day of the arbitration hearing involving the Pirates and Pedro Alvarez that began yesterday morning in New York. Selig completed his testimony, but the other witness, MLB labor lawyer Dan Halem, did not.
The next hearing before arbitrator Shyam Das is scheduled for Sept. 23. with an opening on his docket the next day, too. And, with the union's list thought to be much longer than two, with MLB still having to call witnesses, with lawyers needing probably several weeks to file written briefs, and with Das needing time to form a decision, it could be months before the matter is closed.
"We hope not, but it looks that way," Pirates president Frank Coonelly said last night from Pittsburgh.
Coonelly acknowledged the window for Alvarez to play in the Florida Instructional League, which begins later this month, is closing.
No one from the Pirates was present at the hearing. Neither were Alvarez, agent Scott Boras or anybody from another team.
The union filed the grievance late last month contending that more than one agreement with a 2008 draft pick -- including the verbal $6 million agreement reached by the Pirates and Alvarez -- came after the midnight Aug. 15 deadline and without the union's approval. MLB did approve the Alvarez agreement and the rest, and its stance is that the commissioner is within his rights to extend the deadline.
Opening statements yesterday were made by the union's general counsel, Mike Weiner, and MLB lawyer, Howard Ganz.
Spokesmen for MLB and the union said they would have no comment. Boras was unavailable.
MLB has acknowledged extending the deadline for the Pirates' and Kansas City's first-round picks, and Washington also is believed to have been granted one. The Royals agreed to terms with first baseman Eric Hosmer, another Boras client, on a $6 million bonus. The Nationals failed to sign their top pick, pitcher Aaron Crow.
First Published September 11, 2008 12:00 am