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SHAKY LABOR PICTURE COULD MEAN `SCAB' BASEBALL IN 1990

As repulsive as it sounds, scab baseball is being considered for the major leagues in 1990.

No joke. This information comes directly from a club owner, who admitted to being "very worried" about baseball's labor picture but requested anonymity because of a gag rule implemented at major-league headquarters."We've discussed the idea of using replacement players next year, yes," the owner said. "I'm not going to lie to you. There's a great deal of concern about our labor situation right now. It's easily our No. 1 concern. I think every owner would tell you that.

"So, in trying to come up with solutions, we've considered a number of different ideas. Using replacement players is one of those ideas. They did it in the National Football League with some success a couple of years ago and there's a group amongst us that believes, if need be, we could also do it with some success."

And it isn't only the owners who are worried about baseball's labor scenario. Players are focusing their thoughts on the labor negotiations almost as much as they are on the division races.

Seven months before the collective agreement between the owners and the players expires, the hostility between the two sides continues to grow.

"You try not to think about it during the season, but you can't help it," said Carney Lansford, the Oakland Athletics' player representative.

So concerned is Lansford about the situation that he has advised his teammates to save extra money this season.

"I'm doing it myself," Lansford said. "I'm putting aside some money from each of my paychecks. You hope for the best, but you have to prepare for the worst."

John Cerutti, the Toronto Blue Jays' player representative, is more reluctant to discuss the subject because, "Even though we're all concerned about it, I'm trying not to dwell on it."

"The owners are going to lock out the players next year," said Craig Fenech, who represents dozens of players in addition to Cerutti. "You can bet the farm on it. A lockout is a certainty, believe me."

The owners are determined to make the players uncomfortable. It's obvious that the owners are attempting to scare the players by hinting that they might not be permitted to work. Every bit of information indicates that.