As expected, Bedard to start Opening Day

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

March 19, 2007|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN REPORTER

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. -- The news finally reached Orioles pitcher Erik Bedard yesterday as he stretched on the field. Manager Sam Perlozzo approached the left-hander and told him that he'd be the starter Opening Day. No more delaying the inevitable.

Bedard, in turn, offered a predictably dry response.

"He just said that I was starting the first game," Bedard recalled, "and I said, `OK.' "

For Bedard, that reaction qualified as a wild celebration.

Perlozzo's announcement was a mere formality to everyone except Bedard, who has been lined up to start on April 2 in Minnesota and is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in 14 innings, with three walks and 13 strikeouts. He's done nothing to make Perlozzo consider anyone else.

"You guys [reporters] made more of a big deal out of it than anything," Bedard said. "Other than that, no, I didn't expect it."

Asked whether he views the assignment as an honor, Bedard said: "Yeah, I guess. It's an honor to start the first game of the season and to be called the ace. But other than that, anybody can be called the ace on our team."

Bedard, who won a career-high 15 games last season, most likely will oppose Twins left-hander Johan Santana.

"I'm not very excited just because he's a pretty good pitcher and he's won the Cy Young before," Bedard said.

Penn apologizes

One day after being disciplined for driving back to Fort Lauderdale to retrieve his equipment bag, pitcher Hayden Penn met with Perlozzo and bench coach Tom Trebelhorn before batting practice and offered an explanation and an apology.

Penn was supposed to start the split-squad game against the Florida Marlins in Jupiter, but he was held back until the fifth inning after returning to the ballpark as the Orioles were about to take the field for the pre-game stretch.

"We're fine," Penn said. "I talked to Sam about it. I talked to Trebs about it, too. He was the manager over there. I'm moving forward."

Penn didn't notify Perlozzo that he was heading back to Fort Lauderdale. Using him in relief was done as a disciplinary measure.

"There really was no air to clear," Perlozzo said. "The only mistake that Hayden made, or the only thing that bothered me, was that he didn't trust me to call. It's a simple thing. It's not a big deal. He noticed it."

Penn pitched three scoreless innings against the Marlins. He also racked up some serious mileage on his car.

"I drove all the way back," he said. "It was a long road trip. It was supposed to be our shortest road trip, but I pretty much did the Fort Myers thing. But it was my own fault."

Roster moves

Reliever James Hoey and outfielder Jeff Fiorentino were among nine roster cuts yesterday.

Hoey and Fiorentino were optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. Pitchers Michael Cory Doyne, Victor Moreno and Francis Beltran, catcher Ryan Hubele, outfielder Roger Cedeno, and infielders Cesar Crespo and Oscar Salazar were reassigned to the minor league camp in Sarasota.

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

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