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Red Sox players threaten to boycott Japan trip

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Update [2008-3-19 13:1:8 by Randy Booth]: The Red Sox/Jays game is back on with the first pitch scheduled at 1:10 p.m. No word on if any agreement was made. Matsuzaka will not be pitching.

Update [2008-3-19 12:47:40 by Randy Booth]: Still no progress has been made. The Red Sox and Blue Jays game scheduled for 12:05 has been delayed. Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was scheduled to start this game, will instead pitch in a minor league game that I believe is going on right now.

After a unanimous clubhouse vote, Red Sox players agreed to not travel to Japan unless coaches and staff are paid for the trip:

''When we voted to go to Japan, that was not a unanimous vote,'' said Lowell, "but we did what our team wanted us to do for Major League Baseball. They promised us the moon and the stars, and then when we committed, they started pulling back. It's not just the coaches, it's the staff, the trainers, a lot of people are affected by this.

"I'm so super proud of this team. When we put it to a vote it was unanimous, we're all in agreement that we're not going to put up with this.''

Manager Terry Francona and his players were extremely irked after learning the team's coaches were not going to get the $40,000 stipend they assumed they'd be getting for making the trip to Japan (players will also receive a payment). Francona had informed the coaches they'd be getting the stipend.

Terry Francona found out his staff wasn't going to get paid after speaking with a coach from Oakland's staff who said they weren't getting paid.

More from coaches and players on the topic:

Red Sox first base coach Luis Alicea said he appreciates the support of the players and feels the entire issue is "embarrassing."

"We all like to feel as if we're part of the team," Alicea said. "We help the players and we appreciate what they're trying to do. We thought this issue was resolved a long time ago. To have it come down to the final day is embarrassing. That's about all I can say about it."

Curt Schilling was one of the players involved in the negotiations last fall.

"We had an agreement. We had an agreement in October," Schilling said. "I was one of the five or six players on the phone call. Some of the things they promised they've already taken away. From the players point of view, we all felt the same way. They can't do this. This can't happen."

It really seems like Major League Baseball dropped (pun intended) the ball here. First of all, you can't just screw over teams like this. It's not right. Secondly, MLB meets the demands the Red Sox have and then renegs them before heading off to Japan? That doesn't make sense considering the MLB is who wants the teams to play in Japan, not the teams. The MLB is throwing gasoline on the fire because traveling to Japan is already a pain in the ass for these guys, add to the situation that most of them aren't getting paid and I don't blame the Sox for boycotting.

The Sox also threatened to boycott today's 12:05 game with the Blue Jays. We'll see how it all plays out through the course of the day.