MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark

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MLBPA Head Says Universal DH 'Gaining Momentum,' Hints At Work Stoppage

July 17, 2018 - 3:11 pm
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By WFAN.com/The Associated Press

The idea of the designated hitter being implemented in the National League is "gaining momentum," the head of Major League Baseball's players union reportedly said Tuesday.

"Players are talking about it more than they have in the past," Tony Clark, executive director of the MLB Players Association, told reporters in Washington, D.C., MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported.

Use of the DH has been debated for decades, and the American League has been using them since 1973.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said implementing a universal DH remains a long shot, adding that the players union has been open to it for more than 30 years. 

"If you get rid of the DH in the National League, there is a brand of baseball that is done," he said. "I think there is going to be some hesitation with respect to that."

Meanwhile, Clark hinted that the sport's quarter-century of labor peace could end if concerns about free agency are not addressed. Players consider teams' reluctance to sign free agents last offseason "a direct attack" on their rights, he said.

More than 100 free agents remained unsigned when spring training began. Many signed at a fraction of the price they thought they were worth and many received shorter deals than they expected.

Baseball had eight work stoppages from 1966-95 but has had labor peace since. The current labor contract runs through the 2021 season.

Asked whether he thought there could be a work stoppage at the end of the deal if players' concerns are not addressed, Clark says that, "to the extent there are challenges to those rights, historically I would suggest those have manifested themselves in a particular way."

(© Copyright 2018 Entercom Communications. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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