Reds’ reliever Hoover wins arbitration case

Reliever J.J. Hoover has won his salary arbitration case against the Cincinnati Reds. (Billy Hurst/AP)

PHOENIX — Reliever J.J. Hoover has won his salary arbitration case against the Cincinnati Reds, improving players to 2-0 against teams this year.

Hoover was given a raise from $535,000 to $1.4 million Friday by arbitrators James Oldham, Dan Brent and Sylvia Skratek, who heard the case a day earlier. The team had argued for $1,225,000.

Cincinnati had not gone to salary arbitration with a player since beating pitcher Chris Reitsma in 2004. The Reds had not lost since their hearing against first baseman Sean Casey in 2001.

A 28-year-old right-hander, Hoover was 8-2 with a 2.94 ERA, winning his first seven decisions. As a setup man for closer Aroldis Chapman, he gave up 44 hits and 31 walks in 64 1-3 innings while striking out 52. He allowed three of 12 inherited runners to score and had a streak of 30 games in which he did not give up an earned run.

Hoover is a candidate to take over as closer this season after Chapman's trade to the New York Yankees.

Tampa Bay pitcher Drew Smyly won the first decision of the year Thursday and will have a $3.75 million salary rather than $3.2 million.