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Cubs’ Arrieta avoids arbitration, agrees to $3.63-million deal

The Cubs and right-hander Jake Arrieta avoided arbitration Friday, agreeing to a $3.63-million, one-year deal in the pitcher’s first year of arbitration eligibility.

Arrieta, who turns 29 in March, had a breakout season in 2014, taking no-hitters into the eighth inning twice – six times into the fifth inning. His 2.53 ERA would have ranked sixth in the National League with 5 1/3 more innings to qualify.

Shoulder “stiffness” sidelined him the first month of last season, but Arrieta said Thursday that was “no big deal,” attributing the lengthy DL stint to the team’s especially cautious approach. And he said he’s healthy now.

Arrieta is one of at least three Cubs to agree to terms Friday, including outfielder Chris Coghlan ($2.505 million) and catcher Welington Castillo ($2.1 million).

That left three unsigned arbitration players: Luis Valbuena, Pedro Strop and Travis Wood.