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09/09/08 7:31 PM ET

Participants won't attend initial hearing

Grievance involving Bucs' No. 1 Alvarez could possibly drag on

HOUSTON -- The scheduled hearing for a grievance filed by the Major League Baseball Players Association against the Commissioner's Office on Aug. 27 will proceed on Wednesday but without anyone from the Pirates being directly involved.

Neither general manager Neal Huntington, nor president Frank Coonelly, nor anyone from the Pedro Alvarez/Scott Boras side is expected to testify before arbitrator Shyam Das in New York on Wednesday.

Because of the number of witnesses expected to testify, the hearing will not be completed in one day. And because Das has very few openings on his docket, it could be weeks or months before anything is resolved. Das' only other open date this month falls in late September and even that might not be enough time to hear the entire case.

Though the grievance filed by the Players Association does not specifically cite the Pirates and their negotiations with Alvarez, it is expected that at some point both Coonelly and Huntington will testify.

Obviously the Pirates have much riding on Das' eventual decision. Alvarez's $6 million signing bonus and his future as a member of the Pirates' organization hinge on the outcome of the hearing.

In the meantime, the longer this grievance procedure is dragged out, the less likely it is that Alvarez -- if he does remain with the Pirates -- will be able to participate in any type of fall or winter ball league.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.