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ARBITRATOR SIDES WITH KNOBLAUCH; BANKS LOSES

SHARE ARBITRATOR SIDES WITH KNOBLAUCH; BANKS LOSES

Players upped their arbitration record to 7-2 Saturday when Chuck Knoblauch beat the Minnesota Twins and was awarded a $4.67 million salary for 1996.

Philadelphia pitcher Willie Banks became the second player to lose this year, but with their plus-5 differential, players are assured of a winning record in arbitration for the first time since they went 14-10 in 1990.Players have a chance to have their best record ever. They also were plus-4 in 1980, when they were 15-11.

Just two cases remain to be heard next week: Baltimore pitcher Arthur Rhodes and Boston shortstop John Valentin.

Knoblauch, who had a salary of $2,987,500 last season, had been offered $4 million by the Twins, but arbitrator Anthony Sinicropi ruled for the second baseman. Knoblauch's award was the highest of this arbitration season.

Minnesota, according to a lawyer at the hearing, offered a $17 million, four-year deal - with or without an option for a fifth year at $4.5 million with an $800,000 buyout, but Knoblauch wanted $20 million over four years.

Knoblauch hit .333 last season with 11 homers, 63 RBI, 78 walks and 46 steals in 54 attempts.

Banks will earn $240,000, matching his 1995 salary.