MLB notebook: Owners want to hold off on playoff expansion

Published: Thursday, Dec. 2 2010 12:37 a.m. MST

Baseball players want owners to hold off on approving a detailed plan for how to expand the playoffs until after the sides can negotiate over the addition of two more wild-card teams.

Union head Michael Weiner consulted with his members this week during his executive board's annual meeting, which is being held in Orlando, Fla.

"Coming out of our meeting, it's our sense that the most productive way to proceed on this topic would be for the parties to engage in discussions before settling on any specific proposals," Weiner said Wednesday during a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Commissioner Bud Selig said following an owners' meeting in mid-November that his special 14-man committee will discuss adding two wild-card teams when it meets Dec. 7 during the winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Players have said they are open to the extra round, more likely to be added for 2012 than next year. Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president for labor relations, said the change would be "a difficult trick to pull off" for 2011 because it would have to be a modification of the current labor contract, which runs through next season.

"The players talked about various aspects of the regular season and postseason schedule," Weiner said. "We considered many different scenarios — both changes and the status quo. The discussion covered all of the factors involved with scheduling, mainly competitive considerations, revenue generation and demands on players. We look forward to engaging in discussions with the owners on these topics."

To expand the playoffs, the sides would have to agree on whether the new wild-card round would be single elimination or best-of-three. They also would have to renegotiate the formula for the postseason pool that is split up among players and figure out how to slot more postseason games into a schedule that has spilled into November in recent seasons.

AT AGE 49, MOYER WILL HAVE ELBOW SURGERY: Jamie Moyer has had Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow and plans to attempt a comeback in 2012 at age 49.

The left-hander had surgery Wednesday in New York to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.

Moyer is 267-204 with a 4.24 ERA during a 23-year major league career. He was pitching in the Dominican Republic in winter ball when he was injured in his third start.

Moyer, a free agent, spent last season with the Philadelphia Phillies. He left his July 20 start in St. Louis when he strained his left elbow after making a pitch.

He has made 30 or more starts in a season 11 times and has reached double figures in wins 15 times, including four of the last five seasons.

The soft-tossing Moyer says he thinks he can still be a successful big league pitcher.

RED SOX IN PURSUIT OF CRAWFORD: A baseball official says the Boston Red Sox have met with free agent outfielder Carl Crawford.

The Red Sox are targeting Crawford as the centerpiece of their offseason shopping. A major-league official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the meeting, confirmed that it took place.

A four-time All-Star, Crawford is one of the top players on the free-agent market. He earned $10 million from the Tampa Bay Rays last season while hitting .307 with 47 stolen bases and career bests of 19 homers, 90 RBIs and 110 runs scored.

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein and owner John Henry did not immediately respond to e-mails asking about the meeting. It was originally reported on a Yahoo! Sports Twitter feed.

Crawford is the longest-tenured player in Rays history. Over nine seasons, he is the franchise's career leader in batting average, RBIs, hits, doubles, triples, runs scored and stolen bases.

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