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Volume 24 No. 117
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     In what MLB terms an "unprecedented exchange designed to
strengthen longstanding relationships with Japanese baseball,"
the NL and AL have agreed to conduct an experimental umpire
exchange program with the Central and Pacific Leagues of Japan
for spring training '96.  Under the deal, four Japanese umpires
will join AL and NL umps in split-crew assignments this spring,
while AL umps Jim Evans and Don Denkinger and NL umps Jerry
Crawford and Charlie Williams will work for a week in Japan.  NL
President Len Coleman:  "I hope it is just the beginning of more
activities involving Major League Baseball and Japanese
Baseball."  AL President Gene Budig:  "No sport is better
positioned than baseball for international growth ... There will
be other significant initiatives in the future."  MLBPA official
Gene Orza:  "This is a small but obvious step in the eventual
internationalizing of the sport.  I'm sure the players will have
a positive response to it" (MLB).