Players' union 'concerned' about Phillies' role in NCAA investigation

(David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies are not worried about perception in the industry following their role in the NCAA's suspension of a former draft pick, but the Major League Baseball Players Association is interested enough to investigate the matter.

Tony Clark, the executive director of the union, spent 90 minutes meeting with Phillies players Wednesday morning. The players' questions centered on improving the drug program, instant replay and home-plate collisions. Clark, though, has potential questions for MLB and the Phillies' front office.

"We are paying attention," Clark said.

The Phillies acknowledged their role in reporting Ben Wetzler, an Oregon State senior lefthander, to the NCAA for impermissible contact with an agent during negotiations last spring. Wetzler, a fifth-round pick, was suspended for 11 games by the NCAA. This was the first instance of a team reporting a player to the NCAA since 1992, according to Baseball America.

Backlash from the amateur baseball community could affect the Phillies' ability to scout and sign talent. Clark said the union is gathering information about the matter. The union does not immediately represent draft picks, but this a possible players' rights issue.

"Yes, we are concerned," Clark said. "Based on what it is we find out will determine what, if anything, lends itself to further discussion. But yes we are concerned enough to be inquiring about what happened."

The NCAA prohibits agents from negotiating directly with major-league clubs.

"If there is reason to believe the dynamic has changed in ways we are not aware of," Clark said, "then that is a discussion we will have to have."

Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.