Thursday, February 12, 2004

Pitchers Farnsworth, Mota, Ryan reach deals

The Associated Press

NEW YORK - Pitchers Guillermo Mota, Kyle Farnsworth and B.J. Ryan avoided salary arbitration Wednesday by settling at the midpoint between their requests and the offers from their teams.

Unable to reach compromises, Anaheim shortstop David Eckstein and Pittsburgh shortstop Jack Wilson argued their cases before arbitrators.

In the day's one free-agent signing, reliever Ricky Bottalico agreed to a minor-league contract with the New York Mets.

Mota and the Los Angeles Dodgers settled at $1,475,000. The 30-year-old right-hander, expected to be the primary setup man for Eric Gagne, asked for $1.75 million and was offered $1.2 million. Mota was 6-3 with a 1.97 ERA and one save in 76 appearances last year while earning $675,000.

Farnsworth and the Chicago Cubs agreed at $1.4 million. The 27-year-old right-hander, who went 3-2 with a 3.30 ERA last season and made $600,000, asked for $1.7 million and was offered $1.1 million.

Ryan and the Baltimore Orioles compromised at $1,275,000, halfway between the $1.55 million he asked for and the $1 million the team offered. The 28-year-old left-hander made $762,500 last year and went 4-1 with a 3.40 ERA in 76 appearances, which tied the team record set by Tippy Martinez.

At a hearing in Phoenix, Eckstein asked for a raise from $425,000 to $2.15 million, and the Angels said he should be paid $1.6 million. He hit .252 last season with three homers and 31 RBI.

Arbitrators Roger Kaplan, Stephen Goldberg and Jack Clarke are expected to decide today.

Wilson requested his salary be raised from $335,000 to $1.85 million instead of Pittsburgh's $1.4 million offer. It was the first hearing for the Pirates since they beat third baseman Jeff King in 1993.

Wilson batted .256 last year with nine homers and 62 RBI. His case was heard by arbitrators Dan Brent, Elisabeth Neumeier and I.B. Helburn.

Owners are 2-0 thus far, with Montreal first baseman Nick Johnson and Cincinnati pitcher Chris Reitsma both losing their cases. Ten players remain scheduled for hearings through Feb. 20.

RANGERS: Outfielder Rusty Greer had another operation on his left elbow, this time to remove scar tissue from around a nerve. The surgery was performed to allow Greer to have more feeling in his arm, seven months after a ligament transplant in the elbow.

Greer, a .305 career hitter in 1,027 games, has not played for the Rangers since the middle of the 2002 season. He's not expected back before 2005.

INDIANS: Outfielder Milton Bradley pleaded guilty to a reduced charge for leaving the scene of a traffic stop and was ordered to serve three days in jail.

Bradley was charged with driving 52 mph in a 25-mph zone in August. He also was charged with failure to comply after police said he drove away without signing his speeding ticket.

Cuyahoga Falls municipal judge Lisa Coates dismissed the speeding violation and the failure-to-comply charge was reduced to obstructing official business, a second degree misdemeanor.

Bradley will begin his jail sentence Tuesday, a week before he is to report for spring training. Coates also ordered Bradley to pay a $250 fine plus $177 in court costs and serve 40 hours of community service.

Bradley apologized to police officers in court. He hit .321 with 10 homers and 56 RBI last season before missing the final six weeks because of a lower back injury.

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