Wang, Fuentes, Valverde have arbitration hearings

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Chien-Ming Wang went to an arbitration hearing Thursday, the first for the New York Yankees since the team won its case against Mariano Rivera in 2000.

Relievers Brian Fuentes of Colorado and Jose Valverde of Houston also went to arbitration.

Washington defeated infielder Felipe Lopez in the first case decided this year when the infielder was awarded $4.9 million rather than the $5.2 million he asked for. Lopez made $3.9 million last year, when he hit .245 with nine homers, 50 RBIs and 24 steals.

Christine Knowlton, Elliott Shriftman and Steven Wolf made the decision Thursday, a day after listening to arguments.

Colorado outfielder Brad Hawpe ($3,925,000) and San Diego catcher Josh Bard ($2,237,500) agreed to one-year contracts, leaving seven players left in arbitration, which runs through Feb. 21.

Wang, a 19-game winner in each of the last two seasons, was eligible for arbitration for the first time and asked for a raise from $489,500 to $4.6 million. New York countered at $4 million in a case heard by arbitrators Stephen Goldberg, Jack Clarke and Knowlton.

Fuentes, who saved 20 games as the Rockies advanced to the playoffs, requested an increase from $3,525,000 to $6.5 million. Colorado argued arbitrators Robert Bailey, Dan Brent and Shriftman should award him $5.05 million.

Valverde, acquired by the Astros from Arizona in an offseason trade, asked Knowlton, Goldberg and Sylvia Skratek for a raise from $2 million to $6.2 million. Houston filed at $4.7 million.

Still scheduled for hearings are Philadelphia first baseman Ryan Howard, Los Angeles Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez, Seattle pitcher Erik Bedard, Houston infielder Mark Loretta, New York Mets pitcher Oliver Perez, Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips and Milwaukee shortstop J.J. Hardy.