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Friday, February 15, 2008
Wang, Valverde, Fuentes lose arbitration cases news services

TAMPA, Fla. -- Chien-Ming Wang lost his salary arbitration case against the New York Yankees on Friday, dropping players to 0-4 this year.

Wang, a 19-game winner in each of the last two seasons, was awarded $4 million instead of his request for $4.6 million by arbitrators Stephen Goldberg, Jack Clarke and Christine Knowlton, who heard the case Thursday in St. Petersburg. Wang was eligible for arbitration for the first time after making $489,500 last year.

Washington infielder Felipe Lopez lost his case Thursday, and relievers Brian Fuentes of Colorado and Jose Valverde of Houston lost Friday.

Valverde was asking for $6.2 million and the Astros were offering $4.7 million. The two sides met with an arbitration panel in St. Petersburg on Thursday, the day pitchers and catchers reported to the team's spring training facility.

"We're happy with the decision and happy the issue is off the table," Astros general manager Ed Wade said. "Now, we'll focus on getting Jose to camp and serving as our closer."

Houston acquired Valverde from Arizona in mid-December. The 28-year-old right-hander was expected to arrive at spring training on Saturday, manager Cecil Cooper said.

Valverde made $2 million last season, when he led the major leagues with 47 saves with the Diamondbacks.

The Astros have another arbitration hearing scheduled for Monday with infielder Mark Loretta. The team is offering $2.75 million and Loretta is asking for $4.9 million.

An arbitration panel also ruled Fuentes should be paid $5.05 million this year rather than his request for $6.5 million.

Arbitrators Robert Bailey, Dan Brent and Elliott Shriftman made the decision one day after listening to arguments. Fuentes made $3,525,000 last year, when he saved 20 games in helping Colorado win its first NL pennant.

Outfielder Brad Hawpe and the Rockies avoided a hearing when they agreed Thursday to a one-year contract worth $3,925,000. Eligible for arbitration for the first time, Hawpe had asked for a raise from $403,000 to $4.35 million. Colorado filed at $3,575,000.

Hawpe batted .291 last season with 29 homers and 116 RBIs. In addition to his salary, Hawpe can earn $100,000 in performance bonuses: $50,000 each for 600 and 675 plate appearances.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.