Howell, Rays avoid arbitration with 1-year deal

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Reliever J.P. Howell has agreed to a $1.35 million, one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, avoiding arbitration.

The left-hander went 2-3 with a 6.16 ERA in 46 appearances last season, when he returned from left shoulder surgery that sidelined him all of the previous year.

The 28-year-old earned $1.1 million in 2011.

The deal reached Monday leaves the Rays with four players eligible for arbitration -- centerfielder B.J. Upton and pitchers David Price, Jeff Niemann and Burke Badenhop.