Mariners get pitcher Bedard from O’s |

Mariners get pitcher Bedard from O’s

David Ginsburg
Ben Margot/APErik Bedard set an Orioles record for strikeouts last season.

BALTIMORE ” Left-hander Erik Bedard was acquired by the Seattle Mariners from the Baltimore Orioles on Friday in a long-delayed trade for five prospects.

Baltimore received outfielder Adam Jones, who probably will start in center field in opening day. The Orioles also obtained reliever George Sherrill and pitchers Chris Tillman, Tony Butler and Kam Mickolio.

Bedard, Baltimore’s opening-day starter last year, joins a rotation that includes newly signed Carlos Silva and holdovers Felix Hernandez, Jarrod Washburn and Miguel Batista.

The departure of Bedard is yet another move to youth by the Orioles under president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail. Shortstop Miguel Tejada, a former AL MVP, was traded to Houston on Dec. 12.

With Bedard gone, Baltimore does not have an ace or even someone that’s a lock to pitch on opening day. Jeremy Guthrie and Adam Loewen are the top candidates, and Daniel Cabrera might be given consideration.

Baltimore had failed to reach an agreement on a contract extension with Bedard, who can become a free agent after the 2009 season. He went 13-5 with a 3.16 ERA last season and set a franchise record with 221 strikeouts. Opponents batted .212 against Bedard, including an AL-low .196 on the road.

Jones told a reporter in Venezuela on Jan. 27 he was headed to Baltimore to take a physical, signaling that a trade was in the works. But that physical did not occur until this week.

The 28-year-old Bedard ranked among the AL leaders in several pitching categories before a rib injury ended his season in late August. He was leading the league in strikeouts at the time and, although he finished third, his average of 10.93 strikeouts per nine innings was tops in the AL and an Orioles record.

Jones, 22, was Seattle’s top pick in the 2003 amateur draft. He batted .246 in 41 games with the Mariners last season and hit .314 with 25 home runs and 84 RBIs for Triple-A Tacoma. He began his career in 2006 with an 0-for-12 drought that ended in Baltimore on July 18, when he got his first major league hit.

Sherrill went 2-0 with a 2.36 ERA and three saves in seven opportunities in 2007. He will probably be given a look as the closer for Chris Ray, expected to miss the season after elbow ligament replacement surgery on Aug. 16.

Tillman, 19, was Seattle’s minor league pitcher of the year in 2007. Neither Tillman, Butler or Mickolio were on the Mariners’ 40-man roster.

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