NEW YORK (AP) -- Agreeing to a $100,000 increase in baseball's minimum salary, players and owners made more progress on minor issues as labor negotiations head into a key weekend.
Faced with the possibility the union's executive board might set a strike date when it meets Monday in Chicago, both sides got three items out of the way Thursday and prepared to deal with larger issues.
They set the minimum at $300,000 starting next year, and agreed to increases in the benefits plan that allow most 10-year veterans who played after 1970 to earn pensions of about $160,000 annually, the federal maximum. Also, they agreed to shorten the period for teams to fund deferred salaries.
A day after baseball players ended decades of opposition to mandatory drug testing by agreeing to be checked for illegal steroids, management worked on a counterproposal it intended to present Friday.
Increased revenue sharing and a luxury tax on high payrolls -- the key economic issues -- were not discussed. The sides also need to come together on a worldwide amateur draft.
Houston became the latest team to authorize the union's executive board to set a strike deadline. Players, however, haven't reached a consensus on whether a date should be set.
"It depends on what potentially happens the rest of this week, hoping that progress continues to be made," Boston's Tony Clark, the AL player representative, said after his team met with union head Donald Fehr.
Management labor lawyer Rob Manfred said negotiators intended to work through the weekend.
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