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Brewers, Clark headed for arbitration

Brewers headed to arbitration with Clark

MILWAUKEE -- Unable to come to terms on a 2006 contract for center fielder Brady Clark, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash traveled to Florida on Tuesday in advance of an arbitration hearing.

Clark's hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning in St. Petersburg, Fla. He earned $1.425 million in 2005, including $300,000 in incentives, and will see his salary more than doubled next season.

Clark filed for $3.5 million in arbitration, while the Brewers' offer came in at $3 million.

In his first season as an everyday starter, Clark led the Brewers with a .306 batting average and 94 runs scored in 2005. His average tied two other players for eighth best in the National League.

Clark's case seemed destined for a hearing from the beginning. Melvin said he had only one conversation after the Jan. 17 filing date with Clark's agent.

The Brewers' case will be presented by Los Angeles-based labor lawyer Harry Zinn, who has worked with Ash since the latter's days as GM of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Arbitration hearings are held before a three-member panel that weighs written and oral arguments from both sides and selects one figure or the other, without explanation, to be the player's 2006 salary. Players are required to attend, if possible, and the panel's decision is typically announced within 24 hours.

In the only case decided so far, the panel sided with the Colorado Rockies against pitcher Sunny Kim. The Royals appeared headed to a hearing with outfielder Emil Brown on Tuesday.

Clark, who turns 33 on April 18, will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2007 season.

The Brewers are also headed toward a hearing with right-hander Tomo Ohka, who is asking for $5.2 million in arbitration, while the Brewers offered $4.25 million. Ohka's hearing is scheduled for Feb. 16, the day before Brewers pitchers and catchers are required to report to Maryvale Baseball Park.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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