Jeff Niemann, Rays head to arbitration

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Jeff Niemann and the Tampa Bay Rays have gone to salary arbitration, with the pitcher asking for $3.2 million and the team offering $2.75 million.

Niemann was 11-7 with a 4.06 ERA in 23 starts last season, when he didn't pitch between May 4 and June 20 because of a strained back. He made $903,000.

Arbitrators James Oldham, Howard Edelman and Mark Irvings heard arguments Thursday. A decision is expected on Friday.

Tampa Bay is 5-0 in arbitration.

In the first decision of the year, Washington pitcher John Lannan lost Thursday and will make $5 million rather than his request for $5.7 million.