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02/18/10 12:16 AM EST

Nats win arbitration case with Bruney

Reliever will be paid $1.5 million; had requested $1.85 million

Reliever Brian Bruney lost his arbitration case Wednesday, meaning he will make $1.5 million in his first season with the Nationals instead of the $1.85 million he was seeking.

The right-hander went 5-0 with a 3.92 ERA in 44 regular-season games with the Yankees last season.

Bruney said he was surprised what went on during the arbitration process. According to Bruney, the Nationals were critical of him, discussing the injuries he suffered the past two years, during which time he has been on the disabled list three times.

Last year, Bruney spent two stints on the disabled list. He missed time from April 25 through May 18 after suffering a flexor muscle strain in his right elbow. He had the same problem in late May and had to be put on the DL for almost a month.

General manager Mike Rizzo did not speak during the arbitration hearing.

"Arbitration cases are funny and really weird. That was my first experience and I wasn't expecting that," Bruney said. "I hear a lot of people say it's going to be tough and they are going to say some things and it's all business -- no hard feelings. ... It's a letdown when things like that happen. I can't say, 'It is what it is' or anything like that, but the situation [is not good]. I'm not happy that I lost at all."

Asked if he or his agent, Gregg Clifton, were able to mention anything positive at the hearing, Bruney said, "The way arbitration works, you don't have much time, and unfortunately, you are paid for stats, not how hard you work."

Bruney will compete with right-hander Matt Capps for the closer role this season.

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