Manfred says shorter season tied to lower pay

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SAN DIEGO (AP) If baseball players want to shorten the schedule, management says they should accept a reduction in pay.

Tired from travel in an era that frequently has quick turnarounds following overnight flights, players are seeking changes in collective bargaining. The regular-season schedule increased from 154 games to 162 in the American League in 1961 and the National League the following year, and playing 162 games in 183 days has left little flexibility.

''There are ways to produce more off days in the schedule. Some of those have very significant economic ramifications,'' baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred told the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Tuesday. ''If in fact we are going to go down those roads, those economic ramifications are going to have to be shared by all of the relevant parties. You want to work less, usually you get paid less.''

Union head Tony Clark, a former All-Star first baseman, says the sport currently is ''not putting players or giving the clubs and their players the best opportunity to play every day at a high level throughout the course of the season.'' He said the grind is so difficult that players need to take days off to give their bodies time to recover.

''I don't agree that there would need to be a discussion about a loss of salary or a rollback of salaries,'' Clark said. ''If there is a lessening of the games and we put players in the position where playing whatever number of games are in that season, they're able to play, the value of every game goes up as well.''