Former 20-game winner Rick Helling signed a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles, who hope he can stabilize a shaky starting rotation.

The 32-year-old right-hander went 10-12 with a 4.51 ERA last season as the No. 3 starter with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The contract he signed Monday will pay him $1 million if he makes the opening day roster and includes $1 million in other incentives. Helling will not become part of the 40-man roster unless he makes the team.

"He gives us more flexibility," Orioles vice president Mike Flanagan said.

Helling expects to fill out a rotation that will be set during spring training camp, which opens Friday. Rodrigo Lopez, Sidney Ponson and Omar Daal most likely will be the top three, but the last two slots are up for grabs.

* YANKEES: Hideki Matsui hit six homers in 67 swings during his first live batting practice session.

With about six dozen Japanese media members on hand to watch at New York's minor league complex in Tampa, Matsui went deep for the first time on his 32nd swing.

The three-time MVP of Japan's Pacific League met several of his new teammates for the first time. He was in a hitting group with Derek Jeter, Alfonso Soriano and Jorge Posada, also on hand for early workouts ahead of Sunday's reporting date for position players.

"I think they are nice guys," Matsui said through an interpreter. "We talked about hitting."

Two of Matsui's homers went more than 400 feet.

"It's tough to decide in only one day," Posada said. "His bat, when he swings, he's got a lot of top spin. It carries. The ball keeps going and going."

Matsui, known as Godzilla, signed a $21 million, three-year contract during the offseason after becoming a free agent in Japan.

* CONTRACTS: Marlins LHP Mark Redman became the first player to win in salary arbitration this year, getting a raise from $300,000 to $2.15 million instead of the $1.8 million the Marlins had wanted. Redman, 29, went 8-15 with a 4.21 ERA in 30 starts for Detroit last season.

Owners have a 2-1 lead in cases decided thus far, with 11 players still scheduled for hearings through Feb. 20.

Pittsburgh 1B Randall Simon, scheduled for a hearing Feb. 19, agreed to a one-year contract worth $1,475,000. Simon, acquired from Detroit on Nov. 25, had asked for a raise from $285,000 to $1.85 million, and the Pirates had offered $1.3 million.

Derek Jeter, left, and Jorge Posada observe with interest as Hideki Matsui takes his first batting practice as a New York Yankee during pre-camp informal workouts. Posada: "The ball keeps going and going."