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Baseball notebook

Union: Up to 11 free agents part of Mitchell probe

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Associated Press / November 9, 2007

No more than 11 players from this year's free agent class were asked to speak with George Mitchell as part of his investigation into performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, a union official told agents this week.

Michael Weiner, the union's general counsel, made the statement Wednesday to agents attending a meeting in New York, two people with knowledge of the session said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Approximately 160 players are eligible for free agency. Many general managers this week said the possibility of particular players being implicated by Mitchell would not be considered when they pursue free agents.

A-Rod concerns raised

The players' union is worried commissioner Bud Selig is trying to hold down the price of Alex Rodriguez's next contract and that teams might be sharing information about their free agent plans.

General managers each spoke at their annual meeting Tuesday about their offseason goals, and many mentioned what players they were making available.

The idea was suggested by cochairs Theo Epstein of the Red Sox and Larry Beinfest of the Marlins.

"Over the past few days, press reports coming out of the general managers' meetings relating to the sharing of information between clubs as to their plans regarding players potentially raise serious questions concerning the fairness and integrity of the free agent market," the union said in a statement last night after the four-day session ended.

A person familiar with the union's statement, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the player was Rodriguez.

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