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Royals, Gobble avoid arbitration

Royals, Gobble avoid arbitration

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KANSAS CITY -- Left-hander Jimmy Gobble agreed to a one-year contract with the Royals on Monday, avoiding salary arbitration.

Gobble reportedly will receive $1.35 million with an additional $50,000 possible in performance bonuses. That's a modest raise over the $1.3125 million he received last season.

Gobble, after a successful 2007, in which he pitched 74 times with a 4-1 record and 3.02 ERA, had a rough time last season. He had just 39 relief appearances, missed 35 games with back problems and finished 0-2 with an 8.81 ERA.

After coming off the disabled list, Gobble had a strong September, with eight scoreless outings that covered seven innings. He gave up just five hits, walked one and struck out seven.

"When I got back in September, I just had one objective, and that was to go scoreless and I did it," Gobble said from his Bristol, Va., home. "Obviously I would've like to have pitched a little bit more, but we had a lot of guys. I felt like I did some really good things and got my confidence back."

Gobble also did well against left-handed batters, holding them to a .200 (13-for-65) average. Right-handers, though, hit .382 (26-for-68) against him.

Considered a lefty situational specialist during the 2007 season, he doesn't know what the Royals have in mind for him this year.

"It's hard to tell," Gobble said. "That's the thing about baseball. The past few years I kind of had that set role and knew what I was doing, and now you don't really know what to expect. But I'm a pitcher, and if they need me, they'll keep me and I'll pitch. That's the only way to look at it."

Gobble wants to pitch as much as possible.

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"I came into last year expecting to get that 60, 70 appearances. I didn't, and obviously I didn't pitch well," he said. "You take your lumps, and the main thing is you want to learn from last year and I feel like I've done that."

Gobble, 27, will be starting his seventh year with the Royals. His career record is 22-23 with a 5.23 ERA and four saves.

Kansas City still has six unsigned players who have filed for salary arbitration -- pitchers Zack Greinke, Brian Bannister and Joel Peralta, catcher John Buck, first baseman Mike Jacobs and outfielder Mark Teahen.

The players and clubs will exchange salary figures on Tuesday. Hearings will be held Feb. 1-21.

Dick Kaegel 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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