Batter up: Taylor vs Nationals in opening arbitration case

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              FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2018, file photo, Houston Astros' Carlos Correa, right, watches his RBI-single against the Boston Red Sox during the sixth inning in Game 1 of a baseball American League Championship Series in Boston. Houston shortstop Correa and Washington Nationals outfielder Michael A. Taylor became the first players of the year to go to salary arbitration hearings. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Houston shortstop Carlos Correa and Washington outfielder Michael A. Taylor became the first players of the year to go to salary arbitration hearings.

Correa asked for a raise from $1 million to $5 million, and the Astros argued for $4.25 million during Thursday’s session before arbitrators Elizabeth Neumeier, James Oldham and Gary Kendellen.

Taylor asked for a hike from $2.5 million to $3.5 million, and the Nationals countered with $3.25 million before arbitrators Mark Burstein, James Darby and Matt Goldberg.

Decisions are expected Friday.

Correa hit .239 with 15 homers and 65 RBIs last season, slowed by a bad back. He batted .315 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs in 2017, helping the Astros win their first World Series title.

Taylor hit .227 with six homers and 28 RBIs last year, down from a .271 average with 19 homers and 53 RBIs in 2017.

Eleven players remain scheduled for hearings through Feb. 15, including Astros right-handers Gerrit Cole and Chris Devenski, and Washington reliever Kyle Barraclough.

Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado avoided a hearing when he agreed Thursday at $26 million, the largest one-year contract for an arbitration-eligible player. He topped third baseman Josh Donaldson’s $23 million deal with Toronto last winter.

Players won 12 of 22 hearings last year, their second winning record in three years but just their fourth since 1996. The 22 decisions were the most since players went 14-10 in 1990.