Selig testifies; grievance recessed until Sept. 23

NEW YORK -- Baseball commissioner Bud Selig was the leadoff witness Wednesday on the first day of testimony in a complicated grievance filed by the players' association after first-round draft pick Pedro Alvarez refused to sign his contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Given that Selig was the only witness to complete his testimony and the hearing was recessed until Sept. 23, it appears that barring a settlement, it will be several months before the case is decided.

Shortly after the Aug. 15 midnight deadline had passed for draft picks to sign, Alvarez agreed to a minor league contract with a $6 million signing bonus. When he later refused to sign the deal, he was placed on the restricted list by the commissioner's office.

Major League Baseball admits it extended the deadline for Alvarez and Eric Hosmer, the No. 3 pick. Hosmer agreed to a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals, a deal that also included a $6 million signing bonus. Hosmer has not contested his contract.

In addition, it appears the deadline was extended for No. 9 pick Aaron Crow, who failed to reach a deal with the Washington Nationals.

Michael Weiner, the union's general counsel, and Howard Ganz, an outside lawyer for MLB, made opening statements. Selig completed his testimony before arbitrator Shyam Das and Dan Halem, a labor lawyer for MLB, was in the midst of his direct testimony before the hearing was recessed.

Das has set aside Sept. 23 and 24 for additional testimony. After that, the hearing would resume in October.

The union expects to call additional management officials and present witnesses from the players' side. Management then would get the opportunity to call witnesses, and the lawyers will need several weeks to submit briefs.

It is not clear what the remedy would be if Das rules for the union.