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Beimel, Paul first two players in arbitration hearings

Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Beimel and Tampa Bay backup
catcher Josh Paul became the first two players to go to salary
arbitration hearings this year.

Paul asked arbitrators Richard Bloch, Robert Bailey and
Christine Knowlton for a raise from $475,000 to $940,000. The Devil
Rays argued for $625,000 during Friday morning's hearing in
Phoenix.

Paul hit .260 with one homer and eight RBIs in 146 games last
season but he is most known for a play the previous year.
While Paul was playing for the Los Angeles Angels during the
2005 playoffs, umpire Doug Eddings ruled he did not glove Kelvim
Escobar's pitch before it hit the ground, allowing A.J. Pierzynski
to reach base as the White Sox rallied in the ninth inning of Game
2. The White Sox went on to tie the series and win their first
World Series since 1917.

During the afternoon hearing, Beimel asked arbitrators Stephen
Goldberg, Elizabeth Neumeier and John Sands for a raise from
$425,000 to $1.25 million. The Dodgers countered at $912,500.
A left-hander who turns 30 in April, Beimel was 2-1 with a 2.96
ERA and two saves in 62 appearances last year.

Decisions on the cases are expected this weekend. Owners won
four of six cases last year and lead players 269-200 since
arbitration began in 1974.

Baltimore center fielder Corey Patterson, who had been scheduled
for a Feb. 19 hearing, agreed to a $4.3 million, one-year contract.

Twelve players among the 106 who filed last month remain
scheduled for hearings, which run through Feb. 20, a group that
includes Florida third baseman Miguel Cabrera, Washington closer
Chad Cordero, Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer and Chicago Cubs pitcher
Carlos Zambrano.