NEW YORK (AP) – Baseball’s average salary rose 4.6 percent last year to a record $2.82 million, and the New York Yankees set a high for teams at $7.47 million.

Final figures released Thursday by the Major League Baseball Players Association showed the rate of increase in the major leagues was nearly half the 9 percent rise in 2006. Still, the average salary appears on track to break the $3 million barrier this season.

Revenue among the 30 teams topped $6 billion for the first time last year and is projected to top $6.5 billion this year, according to commissioner Bud Selig said.

“That is, again, a manifestation of how popular the sport is,” Selig said Thursday after he was given a three-year contract extension through 2012. “It’s grown so dramatically in every way. So when I use those numbers, I use it not to talk about how much money we’re making as much as this is how big the sport has gotten.”

The Yankees’ average was tops in the majors for the ninth consecutive season and topped the previous mark of $7.39 million – set by the Yankees in 2005. New York’s average had dropped to $6.95 million in 2006.

Boston, which won the World Series for the second time in four seasons, was a distant second at $5.46 million, followed by the New York Mets ($4.15 million), Los Angeles Dodgers ($3.99 million), Chicago Cubs ($3.9 million), Chicago White Sox ($3.72 million) and Seattle ($3.7 million).

At the bottom were Tampa Bay ($906,000), Washington ($1.29 million) and Florida ($1.29 million).

Houston, having lost Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, dropped from second in 2006 at $4.28 million to 14th last year at $2.9 million. Cleveland rose from 27th at $1.48 million to 18th at $2.54 million.

Among the teams with the 10 highest averages, only the White Sox and St. Louis ($3.15 million) had losing records. Among clubs with the 11 lowest averages, the only ones with winning records were NL champion Colorado (24th at $1.83 million) and NL West champion Arizona (22nd at $1.9 million).

Designated hitters had the highest average at $8.49 million, followed by third basemen ($5.75 million), first basemen ($5.68 million), outfielders ($5.54 million), shortstops ($4.96 million), starting pitchers ($4.26 million), second basemen ($2.91 million) and relievers ($1.66 million).

Figures were based on Aug. 31 rosters and disabled lists and do not account for money owed to released players or payments teams make or receive to cover parts of salaries of players who have been traded.

The commissioner’s office, which uses slightly different calculation methods, computed the average at $2,739,761.

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