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Arbitration in Arizona

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BRADENTON, Fla. — Barring some last-minute breakthrough in contract negotiations, the Pirates and outfielder Nate McLouth will go to an arbitration hearing Tuesday in Arizona.

McLouth will leave spring training camp today to catch a flight to Arizona. Team president Frank Coonelly will represent the Pirates at the hearing.

McLouth’s camp has requested $3.8 million. The Pirates have offered $2.75 million. Given all that he accomplished last season — including an All-Star bid and a Gold Glove — McLouth has a strong case to put before the three-person board of arbitrators. The Pirates will counter with reams of statistical data, some of which could show that McLouth’s range in center field is actually a bit sub-par.

If a hearing occurs, it will be the first for the new front office team — although Coonelly was a consultant for teams in several arby hearings when he worked in MLB’s main office — and the first for the Pirates franchise since 2004, when Jack Wilson won his case and received $1.85 million.

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