Jerry Crawford, president of the union whose failed strategy led to the termination of 22 umpires last summer, testified yesterday on the first day of a grievance attempting to regain those jobs.

"We expect to initiate the process of proving all the aspects of our complaint," Richie Phillips, head of the Major League Umpires Association, said before the start of yesterday's session.

Crawford did not complete his testimony before arbitrator Alan Symonette and will continue on the witness stand today.

LOWELL HONORED: Marlins 3B Mike Lowell, who came back from testicular cancer surgery last spring, was picked to receive baseball's Tony Conigliaro Award, given to a player overcoming adversity. . . .

Phillies RHP Curt Schilling underwent arthroscopic surgery on his pitching shoulder, the team said. He's not expected to begin throwing for six to eight weeks, in time for spring training, the team said. He's not expected back until May. . . .

The Red Sox' Tom Gordon, the AL's top closer in 1998, had elbow surgery that is expected to sideline him for the 2000 season.

BELTRE DECISION: Major League Baseball expects to decide this week whether Dodgers 3B Adrian Beltre is a free agent because the team signed him illegally in 1994, a top baseball official said.