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MLB notebook: Players wanted A-Rod booted from union

| Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, 10:27 p.m.
New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez had his drug suspension reduced to 162 games, potentially sidelining the slugger for the entire 2014 season.

NEW YORK — Several angry major league players wanted Alex Rodriguez kicked out of their union after he sued it last week, but staff lawyers told them expulsion was not allowed.

The players spoke Jan. 13 during a Major League Baseball Players Association conference call after Rodriguez sued the union and Major League Baseball to overturn an arbitrator's decision suspending him for the 2014 season and postseason.

Details were first reported Tuesday by Yahoo Sports and later confirmed to the Associated Press by a person familiar with the call. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.

All players in the major leagues are members of the union and pay $65 daily in dues, or $11,895 if a player is in the big leagues for a full season. Baseball's labor contract specifies the union is “the sole and exclusive bargaining agent for all major league players.”

The union and Rodriguez spokesman Ron Berkowitz declined comment.

Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games by baseball commissioner Bud Selig on Aug. 5, and the union filed a grievance contending the discipline was without “just cause.” The penalty was reduced to 162 games plus the 2014 postseason by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, who concluded Rodriguez violated baseball's drug agreement each year from 2010-12 and twice obstructed MLB's investigation in violation of the sport's labor contract.

Metal detectors in 2015

Entering a big league ballpark will be a bit like going through an airport by 2015.

Major League Baseball has told its 30 teams they must implement security screening for fans by then, either with hand-held metal detection or walk-through magnetometers.

“This procedure, which results from MLB's continuing work with the Department of Homeland Security to standardize security practices across the game, will be in addition to bag checks that are now uniform throughout MLB,” baseball spokesman Michael Teevan said Tuesday.

The Seattle Mariners announced Tuesday that fans entering Safeco Field will have to walk through metal detectors starting with this year's opener.

The Pirates, Red Sox, Mets, Athletics and Giants were among the teams that experimented with screening at times last year.

Security gained more intense focus after three people were killed and more than 260 wounded in when two bombs were set off at the Boston Marathon finish line.

Abreu rejoins Phillies

Outfielder Bobby Abreu signed a minor league contract with the Phillies and will be invited to spring training.

The 39-year-old Abreu was a two-time All-Star with the Phillies in 2004-05. He was traded to the Yankees in 2006 and didn't play in the majors last year.

Abreu could fill Philadelphia's need for a left-handed hitter off the bench. He hit .322 in 50 games in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2013.

Abreu has 2,437 career hits, 287 home runs, 1,349 RBIs and 399 stolen bases over 17 seasons with Houston, the Phillies, Yankees, Angels and Dodgers. He ranks 22nd in baseball history in walks (1,456) and 23rd in doubles (565).

Also, the Phillies and left-hander Antonio Bastardo agreed to a $2 million, one-year deal, avoiding arbitration, and signed right-hander Chad Guadin to a minor league contract.

Washington's future

Rangers manager Ron Washington said he isn't concerned that his contract hasn't been extended past the upcoming season.

“I'm not worried about that. What I'm worried about right now is trying to help these young infielders I have here get acclimated,” Washington said Tuesday during a winter camp for young players at Rangers Ballpark. “(The contract) will take care of itself.”

Washington is the team's winningest manager with 611 victories over his seven seasons. He took Texas to its only two World Series in 2010 and 2011.

Texas last extended his deal in January 2012, when two years were added through 2014.

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