Infielder Nicky Lopez, Royals go to arbitration hearing

NEW YORK (AP) — Kansas City infielder Nicky Lopez went to salary arbitration with the Royals on Thursday, asking for $2.9 million instead of the team’s $2.55 million offer.

Melinda Gordon, Scott Buccheit and John Woods heard the arguments and are expected to issue a decision on Friday.

Lopez had career bests of a .300 average and 22 stolen bases in 23 chances last season, when he had two homers and 43 RBIs. He made $597,500 and was eligible for arbitration for the first time.

The 27-year-old shortstop and second baseman is hitting .216 with five RBIs and four steals this year.

No statistics or evidence from after March 1 are admissible other than contract and salary comparisons. The timing was set when Major League Baseball and the players’ association agreed to the deal that ended the lockout.

All-Star outfielder Jesse Winker and Seattle avoided a hearing when they agreed Thursday to a $14.5 million, two-year contract.

Clubs lead players 7-3.

Atlanta outfielder Adam Duvall ($9,275,000), Braves third baseman Austin Riley ($3.95 million), injured Atlanta reliever Luke Jackson ($3.6 million), St. Louis outfielder Tyler O’Neill ($3.4 million), Miami right-hander Pablo López ($2.45 million), Milwaukee right-hander Adrian Houser ($2,425,000) and Cincinnati pitcher Lucas Sims ($1.2 million) lost their cases.

Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson ($10 million), Seattle second baseman/outfielder Adam Frazier ($8 million) and Kansas City outfielder Andrew Benintendi ($8.5 million) won.

Arbitration hearings usually are held during the first three weeks of February but were delayed by the lockout.

Three players remain on track for hearings, which are scheduled through June 24: New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, Atlanta left-hander Max Fried and Miami catcher Jacob Stallings.

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