Negotiators from the Newspaper Guild and the Baltimore Sunpapers met informally yesterday, with both sides indicating that formal bargaining, which could end the strike that began Thursday morning, may begin this weekend.

"People seem mildly optimistic that {bargaining} will happen," said Karol Menzie, an assistant feature editor at the morning paper and a union member.

The Washington-Baltimore Local 35 of the Newspaper Guild and Sun management disagree over wages, health benefits and a salary scale that pays significantly lower salaries to employes of suburban supplements than it pays to other reporters.

Publisher Reginald Murphy said earlier yesterday that he was prepared to wait "a long time" before meeting the Guild proposals. He added, however, that he and other Sun officials "don't like this strike," which has prompted support from five other unions at the papers Members of those unions have not crossed the Guild picket lines.

"We despise the breach between good friends and respected colleagues, many of whom are outside now walking the line," Murphy said at a news conference. "But there's something we will not do and that is to abandon our duty to deliver the news."

Both editions of the papers published yesterday were significantly thinner than they were on Thursday, the first full day of the walkout. The company is publishing one edition of each paper daily with press runs that produced more than 400,000 papers yesterday, company spokesmen said.

The company said it plans to expand the morning paper from 32 to 40 pages today. The Evening Sun does not publish on the weekends.