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NEW YORK (AP) — Robin Ventura understands why some people might be suspicious of any players who appear bulked up when they report when workouts start following the lockout.

Now an assistant coach at Oklahoma State, Ventura was a two-time All-Star and a six-time Gold Glove third baseman from 1989-2004.

He played through the height of the Steroids Era and the start of drug testing, then managed the Chicago White Sox from 2012-16.

“I think that would just be a natural reaction,” he said Tuesday. “I think even when there was testing, somebody showed up big, I think people still questioned that. So I don’t see any reason why that would change.”

Speaking during a news conference called by the New York Mets to announce the return of Old-Timers Day for the first time since 1994, Ventura said he had not been aware Major League Baseball and the players’ association stopped steroids testing when the collective bargaining agreement and Joint Drug Program expired Dec. 1.

U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart said the halt in testing is a concern.

Former Mets Daniel Murphy and Cliff Floyd also spoke during the virtual news conference. Murphy, who last played in 2020, was a member of the players’ ruling executive subcommittee when the union rejected management’s pandemic-shortened 60-game schedule two years ago. The union filed a still-pending grievance, claiming Major League Baseball did not play a season as lengthy as was possible.

With spring training workouts unlikely to start as scheduled on Feb. 16, owners are meeting from Tuesday through Thursday in Orlando, Florida. Union lawyers met with players in Arizona on Tuesday and have meetings in Florida scheduled for the following two days.

No negotiations on core economic issues are scheduled.

“I’m an optimist and a bit of an agreeable person by temperament so, yes, I am hopeful,” Murphy said. “I would be more hopeful after the owners’ meetings in Orlando if we can have a discussion with the union. There’s been a bit of tension since the last time they were able to get an agreement together.”

Murphy said that watching talks from a distance, he hoped a negotiating schedule could be set in the next few days.

“As a baseball player, the bell rings here pretty soon. Not for me anymore. I have tee times. But we’re only a handful of days away from the scheduled start of spring training,” he said. “I’m sure there’s anxiety on both sides.”

Floyd came up to the major leagues in 1993 and was on the first-place Expos when a strike began in August 1994 and ended the season prematurely, spilling over into the 1995 season.

“Being outside looking in, there are some similarities,” Floyd said. “You got to get built up. Baseball needs to be played. … I know they’ve got to dot I’s and cross T’s, but it’s just tough to watch, especially when the world is going through what we’re going through. So I think that in itself is a little bit different than ’94. … As you can tell, these are very uncomfortable conversations to have because it’s just two sides trying to do what they want so, hopefully, it gets done sooner than later.”

___

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Hillary Clinton Breaks With Biden Admin, Says U.S. Should Not Negotiate With Iran: We Need to Stand With the People

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday and forcefully argued for the U.S. to do everything it can to support the women protesting against Iran’s theocracy while urging the Biden administration to abandon any negotiations with the regime.

“So on Iran, because clearly the whole world is watching the very brave women and girls there stand up for their rights. And we’ve also seen the crackdown. We also know that this is all sort of complicated for the United States with all sorts of other policy, trying to get Iran, you know, to come back into the nuclear accord, which, by the way, it was a US president who brought the world out of that,” Amanpour began, noting the nuclear accord from the Obama administration, which President Joe Biden has been working to recreate – although those negotiations hit an impasse over the summer.

“Well, I spoke to the current secretary of state, Antony Blinken, on this program yesterday, and I asked him what more the US could do to support the rights of Iranian women. Obviously, the US isn’t going to intervene militarily to overthrow any government. But what do you think? If you were secretary of state, the US can do it. And I think you were during the Green Revolution,” asked Amanpour of Clinton.

“Yes. Well, first of all, during the Green Revolution in 2009, we made a decision based on the best intelligence and information we had at the time that overt American support for the protests would actually hurt those protests and the protesters themselves. So behind the scenes, we tried to keep social media operating so that people could communicate and organize. Now I think it’s very different than it was 13 years ago,” Clinton replied, adding:

What’s happening now deserves our full-throated support. And I think every time anyone speaks on behalf of the United States government, they need to be saying that they stand with the people of Iran, particularly with the women and girls.

I also think we should continue to take whatever action is possible through international bodies. I was part of a group of women leaders who called for the UN to kick Iran off the UN Commission on the Status of Women. They should never have been on there in the first place. And I believe we’re moving toward that actually being accomplished. At least it better be, because it’s the right thing to do. But I also believe that we need to keep the world’s attention focused. I did an event last week with a group of Iranian American women and artists who were really pleading to keep eyes on Iran, don’t lose focus on covering what’s happening inside.

“And Christiane, I want to thank you for refusing to put on a hijab to continue an interview with the president of Iran, because we need to be standing with the people of Iran,” Clinton continued, praising the CNN host for her act of defiance, which ended an interview with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi back in September.

“Now, you know that the issues are much more than even the oppression of compulsory hijab, but that is a symbol of what that oppression means to the lives, the freedom, the opportunities of the women of Iran. So this is something our government needs to keep speaking out about,” Clinton continued, adding:

And finally, I would not be negotiating with Iran on anything right now, including the nuclear agreement. I think that, frankly, horses out of the barn, when Trump pulled us out, we lost the eyes that we had on what they were doing inside Iran. And I believe that they started those centrifuges spinning again. And I think it’s unlikely that any agreement would be agreed to. And I don’t think we should look like we’re seeking an agreement at a time when the people of Iran are standing up to their oppressors and we are giving them hope and heart.

And I think we’re doing something else. We’re sending a message to whoever the few. Possibly concerned people are about what’s happening to the tens of thousands of Iranians being imprisoned and the many hundreds who are being killed, that maybe they are willing inside to speak out, not just within the government, but more importantly with the clerics, to say that this is not this is not sustainable. We have to move back from this.

You can’t promise a theocracy on covering up women’s hair. That doesn’t mean we’re going to overthrow the regime and they’re going to leave peacefully. But I’m hoping that there can be some kind of internal discussions that might lead to, you know, more freedom, but also less oppression. So all of that is going on at the same time in the US and others need to be on the side of the protesters and their very legitimate demands for the freedom that they deserve as the human rights of them and their fellow citizens should be recognized.

Watch the full clip above via CNN International

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