Talks continue as strike decision nears
NEW YORK, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Labor negotiators for major league baseball and the players association felt they had made progress Friday but, with an apparent new sense of urgency, considered weekend sessions as union leaders prepared to make a move on setting a possible strike date.
The union's executive board was scheduled to meet Monday in Chicago to contemplate setting a strike date for late August or early September.
Negotiators reached agreement on two issues and completed language on another during a collective bargaining session Thursday.
The sides closed out negotiations on minimum salaries for major league players and on a $500 million, five-year package of benefits that includes an increase in player pensions. Contract language on deferred compensation, an issue on which the sides reached accord Wednesday, also was completed.
"It was important to close out those subjects," said Mike Weiner, an associate counsel for the union. "We still have a lot of work to do on other matters."
Rob Manfred, MLB's vice president of labor relations and human resources, said staff for both sides might continue to work late into the evening and, he hoped, through the weekend, particularly with Monday's union meeting pending.
"Whenever you're doing an agreement you reach focus points," Manfred said. "Clearly the parties have focused in on this meeting on Monday as a point in the process. We've worked hard against that deadline. Both parties have."
When asked about the possibility of the players setting a strike date, Manfred replied. "Whether or not a strike date is going be set is an internal union matter. It's a decision they're going to have to make."
Orlando signs Notre Dame star
ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 9 (UPI) -- The Orlando Magic Friday signed former Notre Dame forward Ryan Humphrey, the 19th pick in this year's draft.
Per terms of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, Humphrey will receive at least $2.83 million over three seasons. The club holds an option for a fourth year.
The Magic acquired Humphrey and the rights to center Jamal
Sampson for the rights to center Curtis Borchardt in a draft-day deal with the Utah Jazz.
At 6-8, 235 pounds, Humphrey offers the Magic another body up
front. He spent two seasons at Notre Dame, averaging 16.6
points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.77 blocks in 60 games.
Sucha last seed left in Nordic
HELSINKI, Finland, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- No. 5 Martina Sucha of Slovakia is the only remaining seed at the $140,000 Nordea Nordic Light Open.
Sucha, seeking her second title of the season, routed Spaniard Gala Leon Garcia, 6-1, 6-2, in the quarterfinals of this Tier IV claycourt event Friday.
The 21-year-old Sucha won her only career title in January at
Hobart, where she defeated Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain.
Leon Garcia, in the quarterfinals for the first time this
season, upset second seed Iva Majoli of Croatia in the first
Reds activate Sean Casey
CINCINNATI, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- The Cincinnati Reds Friday activated first baseman Sean Casey from the 15-day disabled list.
Casey, eligible to be activated on Wednesday, had been out with a slightly torn muscle in his left shoulder. He played a pair of games on a rehabilitation assignment with Class AAA Louisville, going 3-for-3 with a home run Thursday at Columbus.
Bothered by the injury since April, the 28-year-old Casey is
batting .264 with five homers and 37 RBI in 93 games for the
Reds this season. He hit over .300 each of the previous three
In his sixth major league season, Casey owns a lifetime batting average of .304 in 624 games.
Punter returns to Packers
GREEN BAY, Wis., Aug. 9 (UPI) -- The Green Bay Packers Friday signed free agent punter-linebacker Louie Aguiar, who returns to the team after a two-year absence.
Aguiar served as the Packers' punter for 15 games in 1999,
signing as a free agent when rookie Josh Bidwell was sidelined
with testicular cancer.
The 36-year-old product of Utah State was out of football last season after spending the 2000 campaign with the Buffalo Bills.
Originally signed by Buffalo as a free agent in 1989, Aguiar did not begin his NFL career until 1991 as a member of the New York Jets. His most productive seasons came during a five-year stay with the Kansas City Chiefs from 1994-98.