Difference of $300K sends Nationals, Lopez to arbitration hearing

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Felipe Lopez and the Washington Nationals went to baseball's first salary arbitration hearing of the year Wednesday, with the infielder asking for $5.2 million and the team arguing for $4.9 million.

Lopez hit .245 last season with nine homers, 50 RBIs and 24 steals. He made $3.9 million.

Arbitrators Christine Knowlton, Elliott Shriftman and Steven Wolf were expected to make a decision Thursday or Friday.

Washington split its two hearings last year, with closer Chad Cordero winning and pitcher John Patterson losing.

Twelve other major leaguers are scheduled for hearings, which run through Feb. 21. Management won four of seven cases last year and has a 273-203 edge since arbitration began in 1974.

Lopez was Washington's last remaining player eligible for arbitration.