The players' association filed a grievance Friday to block the Kansas City Royals' suspension of AL Rookie of the Year Carlos Beltran.
Beltran was suspended without pay Thursday for refusing to report to the team's Florida training complex for rehabilitation. The Royals said the suspension would last for 30 days or until he reports, whichever is shorter.
The next step is for lawyers for the union and the commissioner's office to meet, probably the week of Aug. 14. If Beltran doesn't receive a full paycheck on Aug. 15, the union intends to file a default notice.
Kansas City would then pay him rather than risk losing Beltran to free agency if arbitrator Shaym Das rules in the union's favor.
If the case goes to a hearing, Das probably would listen to testimony the week of Aug. 21, a management lawyer said.
Kansas City said it has the right to decide Beltran's medical treatment, citing a provision in each player's contract. The union, citing provisions of the collective bargaining agreement, said he can't be sent to the minor leagues for rehabilitation without his consent.
Beltran, 23, has been on the disabled list with a bruised right knee since July 5. The Royals said their team physician, Dr. Steve Joyce, recommended a rehabilitation at Haines City.
Beltran makes $350,000 this season, and each day of the suspension would cost him $1,923. He is hitting .247 this year with six homers, 32 RBIs and 10 steals in 10 attempts.
Last year, Beltran batted .293 with 22 homers, 108 RBIs, 112 runs scored and 27 steals in 35 attempts.
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© 2000 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.