MLB job talks pushed to Friday as deadline looms

JUPITER, Florida, USA — Less than four and a half days from the deadline set by Major League Baseball to reach a labor agreement that allows the season to start on March 31 and a 162-game schedule. , New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCuller Jr. and Miami Marlins infielder Miguel Rojas joined the conversations.

The parties met for the fourth straight day at Roger Dean Stadium, the vacant spring training complex of the Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals.

The players who have been since the beginning of the week also showed up: Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon of the Yankees; Max Scherzer and Francis Lindor of the New York Mets; Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals; Ian Happ of the Chicago Cubs; Brent Suther from the Milwaukee Brewers; and the free agent Andrew Miller.

Players met in the parking lot by first base with union leader Tony Clark, chief negotiator Bruce Meyer and others before entering the ballpark at 1 p.m.

MLB had warned the union that it will cancel games if they don’t reach an agreement by Monday, something it confirmed publicly on Wednesday.

The players have not accepted Monday as a deadline, and have suggested that any canceled games be made up with doubleheaders, a method Major League Baseball says will not be accepted.

The union has warned the majors that if games and salaries are lost, clubs should be under no illusions that players will agree to management’s proposals to expand the playoffs and allow advertising on uniforms and helmets.

The ninth major league lockout has reached its 85th day. This week’s sessions brought the total to 10 that have focused on key economic issues since Dec. 2, when the lockout was decreed.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Feb. 10 that a minimum of four weeks of training is required before the season begins. A Monday deal would provide that leeway, plus a few days for players to report to camps in Arizona and Florida.

Players and teams are at odds over the luxury tax, salary arbitration eligibility, profit sharing and the bonus pool for players who haven’t gone to arbitration yet.

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MLB job talks pushed to Friday as deadline looms