MLB players vote to end lockout, salvaging 162-game season

NEW YORK (AP) — Players have voted to accept Major League Baseball’s latest offer for a new labor deal, paving the way to end a 99-day lockout and salvage a 162-game regular season that will begin April 7.

The union’s executive board approved the agreement in a 26-12 vote, pending ratification by all players, a person familiar with the balloting said, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no announcement was authorized.

Earlier in the day Thursday, Major League Baseball and its locked-out players gained momentum toward an agreement after the bickering sides agreed to negotiate on an international amateur draft and management made a new counteroffer. MLB told players if an agreement was reached by 3 p.m. Thursday and ratified later in the day, players could start reporting to spring training on Friday.

MLB sent the players an offer Thursday and gave them until 3 p.m. to accept in order to play a full season.

Owners planned to hold a ratification vote later in the day. A deal Thursday also would preserve the 162-game schedule and opening day would be April 7, a little more than a week after the original March 31 date, the person said.