NEW YORK (AP) -- Negotiators for baseball owners and umpires met for about six hours Tuesday, and management's top negotiator called the talks productive.
The sides then recessed bargaining for a new contract until after the Fourth of July. In an interim agreement earlier this year, they extended the terms of the expired contract through May 31, then extended it again through June 30. That date may be pushed back again.
''I think the tone of things suggest that it will be extended, but it didn't come up,'' said Sandy Alderson, executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner's office.
Umpires said last week there were four major areas of disagreement: pay; the fate of the 22 umpires terminated last September; that discipline be taken only with ''just cause;'' and management's demand that umps get prior approval before talking with reporters.
Negotiators for the umpires did not return telephone messages.
Under the interim agreement reached in March, the sides decided pay scales in the new contract will be retroactive to the start of this season.
Currently, neither side can call a strike or lockout until July 1 at the earliest, and any work stoppage can only start after 14 days' prior notice.
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