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Another Player Loses in Arbitration

February 17, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Baseball owners improved to 3-0 in salary arbitration Tuesday when a three-man panel ruled for the Arizona Diamondbacks in their case against catcher Jorge Fabregas.

Fabregas, Arizona’s fourth pick in the expansion draft, will get $875,000 this year rather than the $1.5 million he requested.

Fabregas made $275,000 last season, when he hit .258 for the Chicago White Sox with seven homers and 51 RBIs in 360 at-bats.

Arbitrators Robert Creo, Roger Kaplan and Jerome Ross made the decision a day after hearing the case in Phoenix.

Baltimore outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds, who had been scheduled for a hearing Tuesday, agreed to a $7 million, three-year contract. Hammonds, who made $490,000 last season, gets a $250,000 signing bonus, $1.25 million this season, $2.4 million in 1999 and $3.1 million in 2000.

He had asked for $1.85 million in arbitration and Baltimore had offered $1.3 million. Hammonds, 26, hit .264 last season with 21 homers and 55 RBIs in 397 at-bats.

Milwaukee right-hander Jose Mercedes argued his case Tuesday, asking for a raise from $153,000 to $1.05 million. The Brewers countered at $615,000.

Mercedes, 27 next month, was 7-10 with a 3.79 ERA in 23 starts and six relief appearances last season. His case was heard by Roger Abrams, Jerome Ross and Gil Vernon.

Seven more cases remain among the 81 players who filed for arbitration last month. In the biggest, New York Yankees Bernie Williams will ask Wednesday for a raise from $5.3 million to $9 million, which would be a record for a one-year baseball contract. The Yankees have offered $7.5 million to the outfielder, who says he will become a free agent after the season.

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