Pitcher Jeremy Affeldt lost his salary arbitration case with the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.
Affeldt will earn $950,000 US next season â $600,000 more than he made in 2004. The left-hander was asking for $1.2 million.
Affeldt, 24, had a 3-4 record, 4.95 earned-run average and 13 saves over 38 games last season. He is expected to be Kansas City's closer in 2005.
It was the first arbitration case this off-season to side in favour of the owners.
Minnesota Twins pitcher Kyle Lohse won the first arbitration case this winter when he was awarded $2.4 million instead of the club offered $2.15 million.
There remains six more arbitration hearings scheduled this off-season. The highest profile case is that of 2004 American League Cy Young winner Johan Santana of the Twins.