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Tampa Bay Rays beat B.J. Upton in arbitration, improve to 5-0

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays won their arbitration case over Dioner Navarro last year, but it didn't work out too well as the catcher got off to a bad start and struggled through a miserable season.

They won again Saturday, prevailing over B.J. Upton when the panel chose the Rays' $3 million offer over the centerfielder's $3.3 million request, and both sides immediately talked of moving on.

"I thought we put on a good case, but they ruled the way they did. Congratulations to the Rays," Upton said. "Now it's time to put all this behind me, hit spring training and get ready to play baseball."

Agent Larry Reynolds said: "It will not have any lasting impact on B.J. because he is so strong mentally, and that's why he's going to be a great player throughout his career."

The Rays, who improved to 4-0 in arbitration cases under executive vice president Andrew Friedman and 5-0 overall, are also moving forward.

"Today officially marks the end of the arbitration process for us this year," Friedman said. "We had a lot of eligible players (12), and we're happy to have it behind us and be able to focus solely on getting ready for the season."

Upton, 25, in his first year of arbitration eligibility, still ends up with a significant raise, having made $435,000 while struggling much of last season and finishing with a .241 average, 11 home runs and 55 RBIs.

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com.

Tampa Bay Rays beat B.J. Upton in arbitration, improve to 5-0 02/13/10 [Last modified: Sunday, February 14, 2010 12:44pm]

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