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02/17/09 2:45 PM EST

Dodgers, Ethier avoid arbitration

Outfielder agrees to contract before hearing begins

PHOENIX -- The Dodgers and outfielder Andre Ethier reached a settlement on a one-year contract for $3.1 million just before the scheduled start of an arbitration hearing Tuesday morning.

Ethier, who received $424,500 last year without the leverage of arbitration, was seeking $3.75 million this year with the club offering $2.65 million, creating a midpoint of $3.2 million.

"Neither side was tremendously happy with it, the earmark of a successful agreement," general manager Ned Colletti said.

Ethier also received $100,000 in performance bonuses that, if attained, would put his compensation at the midpoint in the submittal numbers. The incentives are $25,000 for 596 plate appearances (his 2008 total), $25,000 for 625 and $50,000 for 650.

The start of the hearing was delayed 45 minutes while the two sides negotiated the agreement.

"It was a little annoying and frustrating, you'd think things could have been resolved earlier," Ethier said after arriving in the clubhouse at Camelback Ranch-Glendale. "Sometimes it takes putting on the suits and calling each other's bluffs to get it done."

Ethier, who turns 27 in April, led the club with a .305 average, 20 homers and a .325 average with runners in scoring position last year and was second on the club with 77 RBIs and 90 runs scored. He had an .885 combined on-base and slugging percentage.

Ethier, who has less than three full Major League seasons, qualified for arbitration as one of his class' "Super-Two" group, or top 17 percent in service time.

He said both sides walked into the hotel conference room, "sat down and stared at each other, waiting for someone to flinch," although discussions had stepped up Monday night.

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