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HOWARD RAKES IN $10M IN ARBITRATION

Slugger Ryan Howard won his salary arbitration case against the Phillies on Thursday when he was awarded $10-million, the highest figure given a victorious player.

"My reaction is mostly relief," Howard said. "It was an interesting process. Anyway you look at it, it's a win-win because it's a substantial raise."

Howard made $900,000 last year, when he hit .268 with 47 homers and 136 RBIs, and $355,000 during his MVP season in 2006. The Phillies offered $7-million, but Howard became the first player to win in six arbitration cases this season.

Howard tied the record for the highest salary awarded in arbitration, received by Alfonso Soriano in his losing case against the Nationals in 2006. Soriano had sought $12-million.

Sheff rips ex-agent: Tigers outfielder Gary Sheffield called Scott Boras, his former agent, a "bad person" in part for going after money the All-Star says he doesn't deserve. The dispute stems from the $39-million deal Sheffield signed in 2003 with the Yankees. Sheffield said he represented himself. Boras has said Sheffield agreed to let him represent the Tampa native.

"It ain't going to be pretty," said Sheffield, who has given a deposition each year since a grievance was filed.

manny warns sox: Leftfielder Manny Ramirez showed up at camp in Fort Myers, marking the first time in three seasons he has beat the Red Sox's deadline for reporting. The MVP of the 2004 World Series is entering the final season of his eight-year, $160-million deal that has team options for 2009 and 2010 at $20-million each.

"I want to stay here, but it's up to them if they want to bring me," Ramirez said. "But if they don't want to bring me back, that's fine. I know I'll be a free agent after '08 so that's another thing that I'm looking forward (to)."

A-Rod clarifies: Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez says he was exaggerating when he said Wednesday that he was given nine or 10 drug tests last year. "I know it was more than one," he said. "It's a few. The lesson is, you've got to be very, very specific with what you say because everything then will come back and people are going to ask you. I learned my lesson."

Bonds case: Slugger Barry Bonds has submitted court papers complaining his chances for a fair trial could be hurt by typographical errors in a government filing wrongly accusing him of flunking a drug test in 2001. The home run king has pleaded not guilty to perjury and obstruction of justice. In a filing last week opposing Bonds' motion for dismissal, prosecutors referred to a drug test Bonds failed in November 2001. They later said those were typos, and they meant to reference a November 2000 drug test also mentioned in the indictment.

Slimmer Boof: Former Gibbs High standout Boof Bonser, who went 8-12 with a 5.10 ERA last season, showed up at Twins camp having lost 30 pounds. That puts him at about 235, a weight the team is much more comfortable with for a leading rotation candidate.

Area teams

Blue Jays: Workouts at Bobby Mattick Complex (1700 Solon Ave., Dunedin). Game tickets: (727) 733-9302; Knology Park (373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin) 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday; or bluejays.com.

Phillies: Workouts at Carpenter Complex (651 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater) or Bright House Networks Field (601 N Old Coachman Road). Game tickets: (727) 467-4457; Bright House Networks Field 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday; or phillies.com.

Yankees: Workouts at Legends Field (1 Steinbrenner Drive in Tampa). Game tickets: (813) 879-2244; Legends Field 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday; or ticketmaster.com.

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