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As MLBPA chief fights brain cancer, union works on succession plan

Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Assn., shown in 2011, continues to work despite being diagnosed with brain cancer last year.
(Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

NEW YORK -- Michael Weiner, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Assn., rolled into the hotel ballroom in a wheelchair. He had been diagnosed last year with brain cancer, and his condition has taken a turn for the worse in the last month.

“I can’t move my right side,” he said. “I can’t walk. I can’t move my right arm at all.”

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He said he is trying experimental medication. He continues to work, and he engaged a meeting of the Baseball Writers Assn. of America in a detail-oriented discussion of the Biogenesis investigation, which could result in player suspensions en masse, within weeks.

At the same time, Weiner said, union leadership is preparing a succession plan for the time he is no longer able to work. Weiner said the union has worked on “contingency plans” since November and could designate a successor within a week or two.

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He did not identify any candidates, but he refuted speculation that his predecessor, Donald Fehr, would return.

“I do not expect that Don Fehr will work again for the players’ association,” Weiner said.

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Fehr is now the executive director of the National Hockey League Players Assn.

Weiner, 51, has worked at the MLBPA since 1988. He replaced Fehr as the man in charge in 2009.

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“I don’t take the next morning for granted,” Weiner said. “If I can find beauty, meaning and joy, that’s a good day.”

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