O's, Bedard prepare for sales pitch

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

With no deal in place for '07, arbitration hearing looms

No. 1 starter asking for $4M

Orioles notebook

February 15, 2007|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN REPORTER

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- When Orioles starter Erik Bedard arrived at Fort Lauderdale Stadium yesterday on the day pitchers and catchers were scheduled to report, he playfully sighed at a small group of reporters standing not far from his locker.

Though he was joking yesterday, the left-hander doesn't hide his disdain for dealing with the media. But given a choice between answering questions or listening to Orioles officials discuss his statistical shortcomings, Bedard would surely take the former.

Bedard, his agent, Mark Pieper, and Orioles officials have not made much progress on settling on a one-year deal for the 2007 season. Bedard, who went 15-11 with a 3.76 ERA last season, is asking for $4 million, while the Orioles offered $2.7 million. If the two sides don't compromise, the case will be heard by an independent arbitrator Tuesday in Phoenix.

"Whatever happens, happens," Bedard said. "I don't know. I think it will go all the way if you ask me."

Although he acknowledged that there have been no developments in the contract talks, Orioles vice president Jim Duquette said the team is fully aware of the risk factor in going to arbitration with one of its best players.

"I think you always have a level of concern when you go to arbitration. You see that happen with some guys," Duquette said. "We don't expect that will happen, if we end up going to arbitration with him. But you never know. I think it did affect Rodrigo [Lopez] last year. We all thought it affected Rodrigo early in the season."

Through yesterday, major league owners were 4-0 in arbitration cases. Bedard's take on that record: "So what?"

Parrish finally ready

Reliever John Parrish said he is always excited at this time of year, but this spring training has taken on more meaning than usual for the 29-year-old. Parrish, a left-hander who was considered one of the Orioles' most reliable relievers three seasons ago, has only one inning of game experience in the past 1 1/2 years, and that came in an instructional league contest.

Parrish sat out the entire 2006 season after having ligament-transplant surgery in his left elbow. With the Orioles' flurry of bullpen additions, Parrish is probably a long shot to make the team, but he said he likes his chances.

"I've been ready to go for a while," he said.

Walker enthusiastic

Reliever Jamie Walker, known for his outgoing personality, burst into the clubhouse yesterday carrying his Detroit Tigers equipment bag and shaking every hand in sight. He was also wearing camouflage pants, which prompted pitcher Jaret Wright to ask him, "Did you kill any deer on the way to the park?"

Around the horn

Sam Perlozzo won't make any huge changes in his second spring training as Orioles manager, but he said he'll probably be more demanding of the team. "I think we're on the verge of getting to the next level, so I think we have to be serious about it and go after it." ... The Orioles named field coordinator Dave Trembley bullpen coach, replacing Rick Dempsey, who will be an analyst for Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. ...

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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