NEW YORK - Boston knuckleballer Tim Wakefield became the first player to win in salary arbitration this winter, and owners ensured themselves a winning record when Chicago Cubs infielder Rey Sanchez settled Wednesday.
Wakefield was awarded $2.5 million by arbitrator James Duff, who heard the case Tuesday, rather than the $1.55 million offered by the Red Sox. Wakefield, a 28-year-old right-hander, led Boston in wins last season, going 14-13 with a 5.44 ERA in 32 starts. He made $450,000.
Owners have won three of four cases decided this winter, defeating Tom Goodwin, Aaron Sele and Darryl Kile.
In the final arbitration case among the 80 players who filed last month, Toronto pitcher Bill Risley asked arbitrator James Ross on Wednesday to raise his salary from $235,000 to $550,000. The Blue Jays argued that he should be awarded $380,000.
Risley, a 29-year-old right-hander, was 0-1 with a 3.89 ERA in 25 relief appearances last season.
Sanchez and the Cubs, who had been scheduled for a hearing Friday, agreed on a one-year contract worth $1,287,500, a raise of $87,500.
Sanchez, 29, started last season as the Cubs' regular shortstop, but injuries twice put him out of the lineup for long stretches, appeared in 95 games and hit .211 with one home run and 12 RBI.
Sanchez, whose career average is .264, is competing with Shawon Dunston for the starting shortstop spot this spring. He had asked for $1,425,000 in arbitration, and the Cubs had attempted to cut his salary to $1.1 million. The settlement was $25,000 above the midpoint.