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STRIKING BASEBALL PLAYERS GET READY TO SUE

Baseball players are expected to file more litigation against owners this week.

The striking players, who already have filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board over missed pension payments, are expected to file default notices and grievances this week over players brought up from the minor leagues since the strike began Aug. 12.Union head Donald Fehr takes to the road for the start of a seven-city tour to update players. Acting commissioner Bud Selig says he'll speak with his fellow owners, but a formal meeting won't happen until the week of Oct. 3 or Oct. 10.

"We'll be having a lot of discussions," said Selig, who spent Sunday watching the Green Bay Packers lose to the Philadelphia Eagles.

With no World Series, free-agent filing would start Oct. 15 if owners don't alter the terms of the expired collective bargaining agreement. The union expects owners to declare an impasse in bargaining and to implement their salary-cap plan, triggering even more litigation.

There could be more negotiations, but Fehr doesn't expect them as of now.

"As far as I know, they don't have any interest in additional meetings," he said Sunday as the strike completed its 38th day.

Selig and Fehr are to testify Thursday before a House subcommittee investigating whether baseball should be stripped of its antitrust exemption.

"That will be the major event of the week," Selig said. "We have to get ready for Washington."

Fehr's tour is designed to allow players to express views to the union leadership in the aftermath of the owners' cancellation of the season last Wednesday. The tour starts Tuesday in Atlanta, goes to Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday and New York on Friday.

Jeff Bagwell of the Houston Astros, the likely National League MVP, became the one of the first players to express concern about the union's negotiating stances.

"What happened here so far," he was quoted as saying Sunday by The Dallas Morning News, "is that the two sides sat there and said, `We want this and we want this.' Well, that hasn't worked. I think we might have to give something back to get this done. . . .

"Obviously the other way didn't work. We're sitting here without baseball, right? It's embarrassing to me to be part of a baseball season that won't have a World Series for the first time in 90 years."