Red Sox play after pay fuss

Associated Press
Boston Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills leaves City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, Fla., for a flight to Japan after the team's game against the Blue Jays, which started an hour late.

FORT MYERS, Fla. --- Fans at City of Palms Park were ready for Boston's final spring training game in Florida. The Red Sox weren't.

In an extraordinary move, Boston players voted to boycott a nationally televised exhibition and Wednesday afternoon's flight to Japan for next week's season-opening series against Oakland, upset that coaches weren't going to receive the same $40,000 payments negotiated for players by their union.

A couple of hours later, all was resolved, and the Red Sox took the field one hour late for a 4-3 loss to Toronto before a crowd of 7,868.

Across the country in Phoenix, Athletics players also considered a boycott. They didn't take batting practice and held five team meetings before following Boston's lead and deciding to play. An Oakland split squad lost 6-1 to the Los Angeles Angels in front of 7,940 fans before leaving for Tokyo.

"The players just stepped up and they did what I think was right," Boston coach Brad Mills said.

Major League Baseball agreed to pay the managers, coaches and trainers on the trip $20,000 each from management's proceeds. The Red Sox agreed to make up the difference to make the amount equal, and to pay some of the other team personnel making the trip.

It had not yet been determined whether Oakland would make additional payments to its staff.

"Everyone connected with the trip will be fairly compensated," baseball spokesman Rich Levin said.

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