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UMPS, MLB AT ODDS OVER CREDIT CHECKS

Published Aug. 7, 2007

Umpires are balking at baseball's attempt to widen background checks in the wake of the NBA's referee betting scandal.

In exchange for an agreement to allow credit checks, the World Umpires Association asked Major League Baseball to add a seventh umpire to each postseason crew. Negotiations broke down during a contentious meeting last week at baseball's headquarters, after which the WUA referred to MLB's plan as a "witch hunt."

"We strongly indicated the fact that we were offended by the effort to trade economics against integrity," said Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president of labor relations.

After the NBA acknowledged last month that the FBI is investigating referee Tim Donaghy for betting on games, baseball officials reviewed how they monitor umpires. The commissioner's office asked major- and minor-league umps to sign authorizations for background checks. The major-league union and Association of Minor League Umpires told members not to sign.

CUBS: LF Alfonso Soriano went on the 15-day disabled list a day after tearing his right quadriceps. He is expected to miss two to four weeks.

METS: RHP Pedro Martinez is scheduled to make his first rehab start Wednesday for St. Lucie of the Florida State League as he tries to come back from offseason shoulder surgery.

REDS: Rookie OF Josh Hamilton is scheduled to play for Triple-A Louisville today on a rehab assignment. The former Rays prospect went on the disabled list July 12 with a sprained right wrist.

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