© St. Petersburg Times, published February 9, 2003
NEW YORK -- The Marlins beat Vladimir Nunez in the second arbitration case of the year, and the pitcher will make $1.4-million this season instead of the $1.75-million he wanted.
Arbitrators Kenneth Perea, Jack Clarke, I.B. Helburn issued their decision one day after hearing the case in St. Petersburg.
The 27-year-old right-hander, who was asking for a raise from $360,000, was 6-5 with 20 saves and a 3.41 ERA last season and became eligible for arbitration for the first time.
In the first arbitration decision this year, Cincinnati beat pitcher Bruce Chen, who got a raise from $300,000 to $700,000 instead of the $830,000 he wanted. Chen and Nunez are represented by Scott Boras.
Boras also represents four-time Cy Young Award winner Greg Maddux, the biggest name among the 16 players remaining in arbitration. Maddux has asked for $16-million, and the Braves have offered $13.5-million.
MOVING AHEAD: Telecommunications mogul William Collins III has been fired by troubled pager company Metrocall, but that apparently will not hinder the Virginia Baseball Club's efforts to lure the Expos to Northern Virginia.
Collins resigned as chief executive of Metrocall because of differences with the board over the direction of the company, but his stake in the effort to acquire the Expos comes from the sale of his stake in another company.
The longest-standing prospective ownership group in the D.C. region still faces a serious financing problem, however, which could impair its chances of competing with the downtown group led by Fred Malek and two newer groups intent on bringing baseball back to the nation's capital.
COX BETTER: Ex-Devil Rays first baseman Steve Cox's right knee injury wasn't as bad as first thought and he is expected to have minor surgery this week and make it back for Yokohama's opening day game.
RANGERS: Outfielder Juan Gonzalez has wrapped up a divorce with his fourth wife, singer Olga Tanon, which was contested more than three years.
YANKEES: The team won the right to negotiate with right-hander Ramon Ramirez of the Hiroshima Carp. The team's bid of $350,000 was accepted by the Central League team.
Ramirez, 21, a native of the Dominican Republic, joined Hiroshima last year. He was 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two games.
Under the posting system, the negotiating rights for Japanese players can be sold to the major-league team making the highest bid. The winning team has 30 days to sign the player.
HR CHALLENGE: Magglio Ordonez of the White Sox defeated Pat Burrell of the Phillies 13-12 to win the Big League Home Run Challenge in Las Vegas.