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Michael Bourn

AP Newsbreak: MLB average salary $4.4M after 4.4 pct rise

Baseball's average salary rose 4.4 percent to $4.38 million on opening day, according to a study of contract terms by The Associated Press, and the Los Angeles Dodgers topped spending for the third straight season.

The Chicago Cubs boosted payroll by $51 million, adding Jason Heyward, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist in an effort to win their first title since 1908.

After beating the Cubs in the NL Championship Series and losing to Kansas City in the World Series, the New York Mets hiked spending by nearly $38 million.

Houston, coming off its first playoff appearance in a decade, raised payroll by almost $26 million after starting last season with the lowest in the major...