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Milwaukee, pitcher meet in middle

MILWAUKEE -- Ben Sheets and the Milwaukee Brewers agreed Sunday to a $6 million, one-year contract that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

The agreement was halfway between the $6.5 million figure Sheets had submitted in arbitration last month and the $5.5 million Milwaukee had offered. A hearing had been scheduled for Tuesday in Tampa, Fla.

A 26-year-old right-hander, Sheets made $2.5 million last season and went 12-14 with a 2.70 ERA. He set a franchise record with 264 strikeouts, second in the NL behind Randy Johnson.

"We're happy to get this done and not go to a hearing with Ben," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. "I am looking forward to a good spring training and another good year of
development from Ben."

Five players remain scheduled for arbitration hearings this week. Players and owners have split the only two decisions thus
far, with Minnesota pitcher Kyle Lohse winning and Kansas City
pitcher Jeremy Affeldt losing.