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No relief for Rodriguez: Angels closer loses at arbitration

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Associated Press / February 23, 2008

This time, the Los Angeles Angels got the save: $2.5 million.

The Angels beat All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez in salary arbitration yesterday, and he will receive $10 million this season rather than his request for $12.5 million.

The 26-year-old Rodriguez, whose 132 saves over the past three years are the most in the majors, took the arbitration defeat in stride.

"It's a situation you can't control. In the meantime, I'm happy because I'm here and I've just got to move on and make sure to be ready for the season," he said at spring training. "I'm a Halo, still a Halo for this year."

Tony Reagins, who became the Angels' general manager last October, and Rodriguez are friends and both said that had not changed.

"I think it's good to have this behind us," said Reagins. "We want to win a world championship and being able to put potential distractions behind us is important."

Despite the loss, Rodriguez tied the record for the highest salary in an arbitration decision, a mark he shares with Alfonso Soriano, who lost his case against Washington in 2006, and Ryan Howard, who beat Philadelphia Thursday.

In another arbitration decision, lefthander Oliver Perez won his case against the New York Mets and will be paid $6.5 million this year rather than the team's offer of $4,725,000.

Owners finished with a 6-2 advantage over players this year in cases that went to hearings.

Testimony questioned

The New York Daily News reported yesterday there is a photo of Roger Clemens at Jose Canseco's house in Miami during a June 1998 party, contradicting Clemens's sworn testimony that he never attended the party.

Richard Emery, one of the lawyers for Clemens's former trainer, Brian McNamee, said he was aware of the existence of the photo. "We believe there's photographic evidence that shows Clemens was at a party he says he wasn't at."

In the Mitchell report, McNamee said he witnessed Canseco, Clemens, and a third person talking, and that some time after the party, "Clemens approached [him] and, for the first time, brought up the subject of using steroids."

Clemens has repeatedly denied being at Canseco's house for that event, but the Daily News said a man, just 11 years old at the time, has photos of Clemens and other players at the party.

New hearings set

The commissioners and union leaders of the four major US sports leagues, as well as Olympic, collegiate, and high school officials, will testify at another congressional hearing on performance-enhancing drugs. Commissioners Bud Selig of Major League Baseball, Roger Goodell of the NFL, David Stern of the NBA, and Gary Bettman of the NHL will testify Wednesday before a Committee on Energy and Commerce subcommittee. Players' union directors Billy Hunter (NBA), Donald Fehr (baseball), Gene Upshaw (NFL), and Paul Kelly (NHL) also were invited to testify . . . The Arizona Diamondbacks agreed to a minor league contract with former Red Sox outfielder Trot Nixon. He batted .251 with three homers and 31 RBIs in 99 games with Cleveland last season . . . Francisco Liriano probably won't arrive at Minnesota Twins camp until next week. Twins general manager Bill Smith said he thinks Liriano will pick up his visa in the Dominican Republic Monday, which would mean the pitcher likely wouldn't get to spring training until at least Tuesday. Because of a new practice, people who have a recent DUI on their records - Liriano was charged in 2006 - are required to attend an alcohol assessment before getting visas . . . Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella is considering dropping Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez in the batting order to allow Kosuke Fukudome to hit third, a spot where the Japanese star feels most comfortable.

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