Sosa avoids arbitration wth Braves after career year

ATLANTA -- Pitcher Jorge Sosa agreed to a $2.2 million,
one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves on Saturday after the best
season of his career.

The 28-year-old right-hander was acquired by the Braves before
last season in a seemingly minor deal with Tampa Bay. After
starting out in the bullpen, he claimed a spot in rotation and went
13-3 with a 2.55 ERA.

Sosa was the final Atlanta player still in arbitration. He had
asked for $2.6 million, while the Braves countered with an offer of
$1.8 million.

The two sides met right in the middle, though Sosa also could
earn an additional $50,000 if he pitches 205 innings. He pitched
134 innings last season.

"I feel very happy with the deal because we spent a long time
negotiating and we avoided arbitration," Sosa said before a winter
league game in his native Dominican Republic.

Former Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone, now with the Baltimore
Orioles, helped improve Sosa's mechanics.

"I am where I am today thanks to Leo, because he helped turn me
into the pitcher I am," Sosa said.