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Contraction grievance in recess

Players' grievance against Major League Baseball's contraction plan recessed until April 8 after Bob DuPuy, baseball's new chief operating officer, completed his second day of testimony Wednesday.

Union lawyers have not completed their questioning of DuPuy, who began his testimony Tuesday.

Arbitrator Shyam Das has heard 17 days of testimony from seven witnesses, and the players' association says DuPuy is not its final witness. When the union is done, owners will start presenting their defense.

The union claims the Nov. 6 vote by teams to fold two franchises violated its collective bargaining agreement, which expired the next day.

The Twins and Expos were targeted for elimination, management negotiators later told the union, but contraction was blocked for this year when a Minnesota judge issued an injunction forcing the Twins to honor their lease at the Metrodome, which runs through the 2002 season.

Commissioner Bud Selig postponed contraction until next season at the earliest. If Das rules for players in the grievance, the union would seek damages, claiming the attempt to eliminate two teams depressed salaries of free agents.

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