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Bedard deal on landing strip

Erik Bedard arrived in Seattle yesterday afternoon to take a physical, the final step in the completion of the long-awaited six-player deal between the Orioles and Mariners.

The physical is expected to extend into today, meaning it's possible that the trade, which will send young center fielder Adam Jones, reliever George Sherrill and three pitching prospects to Baltimore, might not be announced until tomorrow.

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Things could change if there are problems with the results of Bedard's physical, but the left-handed ace's arrival on the West Coast is a significant development. It signifies that the Orioles are content with the results of Jones' and Sherrill's physicals, which were taken earlier this week, and the deal is now out of their hands and in the Mariners'.

The Orioles had planned to notify Bedard of the deal and get him to fly to Seattle only when they had officially signed off on the trade.

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Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail yesterday declined to comment on the Bedard situation, maintaining that the club had nothing to announce.

The two teams agreed to the general framework of the deal almost two weeks ago, but several issues held it up. The first came Jan. 27 when Jones, one of the game's top prospects and the centerpiece of the Mariners' offer, told a Venezuelan newspaper that he was headed to Baltimore for a physical because he had been traded in a deal for Bedard.

That pronouncement angered the Orioles, who insisted that no deal was complete and that several issues had to be worked out. The teams continued to negotiate and finally made progress late last week.

As a result, Jones and Sherrill flew to Baltimore on Monday to take physicals. The Orioles spent the next couple of days reviewing the physicals' results before getting word to Bedard that he needed to fly to Seattle. Bedard officially left his Ontario home yesterday morning and was expected in Seattle around 2 p.m. Pacific time.

In the deal, the Orioles also will receive pitching prospects Chris Tillman, Tony Butler and Kam Mickolio.

O's sign trio

The Orioles reached a one-year deal with Daniel Cabrera, avoiding salary arbitration with the starting pitcher who went 9-18 with a 5.55 ERA in a career-high 34 starts last season.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Cabrera will make just under $2.9 million, which is just under the midpoint of the arbitration figures filed by the two sides. Cabrera asked for $3.3 million while the Orioles were offering $2.6 million.

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The deal leaves Bedard as the only remaining Oriole eligible for salary arbitration, and his contract could become the Mariners' problem by this afternoon.

The Orioles also reached one-year deals with pitchers Jim Hoey and Troy Patton, a left-handed starter who was acquired from the Houston Astros in December in the Miguel Tejada trade.

Dominican hire

More than two months after agreeing to an extended lease on a new baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, the Orioles announced that Felipe Alou Jr. has been named Dominican operations assistant and will supervise the club's player development program there.

Alou, the son of former major league player and manager Felipe Alou, spent five years as a minor leaguer in the Kansas City Royals' organization. He has been serving as an assistant to the commissioner of the Dominican Baseball League.

Alou will allow the Orioles' director of Dominican scouting, Carlos Bernhardt, to focus on procuring and scouting talent in the area, rather than overseeing the day-to-day operation of the facility.

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jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com


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