Threat to MLB openers increases, talks end after 15 minutes

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NEW YORK — The threat to opening day on March 31 appeared to intensify Thursday when the drawn-out talks to end Major League Baseball’s lockout ended just 15 minutes after they resumed following a four-day break.

What was supposed to be the second day of spring training workouts instead was the 78th day of the second-longest work stoppage in baseball history. After just the sixth meeting on core economics since the lockout began Dec. 2, the sides had differing interpretations of the brevity: The union didn’t read much into the short session, and management attributed the lack of length to having nothing to talk about.

“I’m pretty sure I’ve had at bats longer than this meeting,” New York Mets infielder Luis Guillorme tweeted.

While there is a session scheduled for Friday on non-core issues, there is no set date for the resumption of the main talks. The sides have about two weeks left to reach a deal that would allow sufficient spring training ahead of an on-time opening.

“I just hope something gets resolved quickly,” Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu said before the meeting, just after working out with teammate Aaron Judge at a college field in Tampa, Florida. “Baseball becomes a business – it’s not as fun, but it’s something that definitely needs to happen.”

At this point, MLB has not even acknowledged publicly that exhibition openers won’t come off as scheduled on Feb. 26. The union told MLB it was prepared to meet every day next week.

There was no discussion of key issues such as luxury tax thresholds and rates, the minimum salary, the union’s proposal to decrease revenue sharing and the players’ allegations of service time manipulation. The sides remain far apart in all those areas and also differ on the postseason: Owners want to expand the playoffs from 10 teams to 14, while players are offering 12.

Still, the union’s change in arbitration moved the sides closer in structure for when they actually start intensive negotiations. Without the imminent threat of losses caused by missing regular-season games, both sides appear hesitant to reveal bottom-line positions.

Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem, Executive Vice President Morgan Sword and Senior Vice President Patrick Houlihan made the five-minute walk from MLB’s West Midtown office to the players’ association’s East Midtown workplace on an usually warm winter afternoon.

Sword and Houlihan left shortly after they arrived, and Halem remained for a 20-minute, one-on-one meeting with Bruce Meyer, the union’s chief negotiator. That talk was described as unusually candid.

Negotiators on both sides planned to discuss the state of the talks with their constituencies.

The union dropped its request to lower salary arbitration eligibility to two years of major league service, its level from 1974-86. Instead, players proposed the so-called super-two group be expanded to the top 80% by service time among those with at least two years but less than three from 22%, its level since 2013.

Both sides would keep the provision that 86 days of service in the most recent season are required. MLB estimates the union plan would make 97 additional players eligible for arbitration this year.

Clubs have said increasing arbitration eligibility and decreasing revenue sharing are non-starters.

The union also increased the proposed bonus pool for pre-arbitration players from $100 million of central revenue to $115 million, a move the clubs received as a backward step. Teams have agreed to the concept but have offered $15 million.

The union expanded proposed eligibility for the bonus pool from 30 players to 150. It would be distributed based on WAR, appearances on an all-MLB team and recognition such as best position player, best pitcher and best rookie.

Players made proposals in six non-economic areas that included the Joint Drug Program, international play, and health and safety.

Schumaker gets first win, Marlins top Mets 2-1 behind Chisholm

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MIAMI – After Skip Schumaker got his first win as a major league manager, Miami Marlins players put him in a cart, rolled him into the shower area of their clubhouse and doused him with whatever liquids they had on hand to celebrate.

“They thought of some kind of beer shower,” Schumaker said after changing out of his drenched clothes, “protein shake in my ear and whatever else they put in my head.”

Behind five shutout innings from Jesús Luzardo and home runs by Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Jorge Soler, the Miami Marlins defeated the New York Mets 2-1 on Friday night.

Schumaker, an 11-year-big league veteran, got his first managing job last October when he was hired to replace Don Mattingly. The 43-year-old spent last season as the St. Louis bench coach.

“I know it goes on my record, but they won that game,” Schumaker said. “Players win games, and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”

Luzardo (1-0) struck out five and allowed two hits while walking four in his first start this season. The 25-year-old left-hander had a 3.32 ERA with a 30% strikeout rate in 100 1/3 innings last season.

“The next step is being consistent,” Luzardo said. “I feel towards the end of last year I was able to do that. Just come out and no matter who we’re facing, no matter the situation, I feel it has to be 100% on the attack.”

Soler, in his first game in right field for the Marlins, made a leaping grab against the wall on Pete Alonso’s sharp fly ball to right center in the second. He followed with a leadoff shot in the bottom half off David Peterson (0-1).

“It was a great play out in the outfield and I took that feeling back to the plate,” said Soler, the designated hitter in the opener. “The pitcher was throwing fastballs, and I had to be aggressive. If he threw one down the middle, I was going to go for it.”

Soler also ran in for a diving catch that robbed Starling Marte for the final out in the eighth. That stranded Daniel Vogelbach, who had pinch hit and doubled off Dylan Floro.

Chisholm doubled the lead with an eighth-inning homer off John Curtiss, who made his Mets debut. That proved to be key when Alonso homered in the ninth off A.J. Puk for his first hit this season.

Puk then struck out Mark Canha and got Jeff McNeil to ground out for the save, ending a game that took 2 hours, 9 minutes.

New York, which had won Thursday’s opener, loaded the bases in the sixth after Brandon Nimmo walked and took third on a single by Marte, who then stole second, Francisco Lindor walked, and reliever JT Chargois retired Alonso on a lineout to Chisholm in center.

Marte had two of New York’s four hits. Peterson gave up eight hits, struck out five and walked one in five innings.

“I like the fact that he only had one walk,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “That’s probably why he was able to survive.”

Garrett Cooper singled twice and had a triple in the first. Miami went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

Miami’s Nick Fortes was called for a pitch clock violation when he wasn’t ready in time to face Tommy Hunter with two outs in the sixth. Fortes swung and missed at the next pitch, falling into an 0-2 count, then grounded out.


Chisholm, known for his flashy celebrations, Euro-stepped to home plate for the first time this season after his homer. He had 14 home runs last season.


The Marlins debuted the teal uniforms that they will wear on Fridays this season to commemorate the club’s 30th anniversary.


McNeil made an alert play in the fifth when Cooper’s sharp two-out grounder deflected off Alonso’s glove. McNeil grabbed the ball with a dive on the right field grass, popped up and made a one-hop throw to the plate, where Tomás Nido tagged a sliding Jon Berti, who had tried to score from second.

“That was a sick play,” Alonso said. “I mean, the ball tips off my glove. If that ball squirts away in the outfield, then that’s another run, so for him to have the baseball instincts and pick the ball up and make that play, that’s excellent.”


Miami RHP Edward Cabrera will start Saturday against New York RHP Tylor Megill, who fills the slot that opened when Justin Verlander was placed on the injured list because of a strained upper back muscle.