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Wuertz, Cubs avoid arbitration
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff

Cubs reliever Michael Wuertz


John Starks | Staff Photographer

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Published: 1/20/2009 2:29 PM | Updated: 1/20/2009 5:02 PM

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Another winter, another season of arbitration peace for the Cubs.

The Cubs on Tuesday agreed to a one-year, $1.1 million contract with reliever Michael Wuertz, avoiding salary arbitration.

With that, the Cubs have agreed to terms with all of their arbitration-eligible players. They haven't gone to a hearing since the early 1990s, when they took Mark Grace to a hearing.

Wuertz gets a raise from the $860,000 he made last year, when he went 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA in 45 games. Command problems led to Wuertz spending a couple of months at Class AAA Iowa, but he has been a big part of the Cubs bullpen since 2004.

Japanese pitcher signed: The Cubs have signed righty Ken Kadokura, a veteran of the Japanese leagues, to a minor-league contract and invited him to spring training as a nonroster man.

Kadokura, 35, has gone 76-82 with a 4.36 ERA in 302 games. He posted a 3.55 ERA in 11 relief appearances last year with the Yomiuri Giants before spending the rest of the season in the minor leagues.

Crowded camp: The Cubs have invited 21 players to spring training as nonroster men.

Familiar names include left-handed reliever Mike Stanton, outfielders So Taguchi and Jason Dubois, infielders Luis Rivas and Andres Blanco, reliever Chad Fox, catcher Mark Johnson and infielder Bobby Scales.

Reliever Andrew Cashner, last year's No. 1 draft choice, is among the prospects invited to camp. Others include catchers Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger, righty Esmailin Caridad and infielder Darwin Barney.

Stanton is an interesting name. The 41-year-old reliever hasn't pitched since 2007, with the Reds. He has 1,178 relief appearances, second all time among left-handed relievers to Jesse Orosco (1,252).