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Orioles best pitcher on disabled list

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Orioles' Bedard on disabled list, will miss 2-3 startsAssociated Press

BALTIMORE -- Orioles left-hander Erik Bedard was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with a strained ligament in his left knee.

Erik Bedard

Starting Pitcher

Baltimore Orioles




9 5 1 0 52 2.08

Bedard (5-1, 2.08 ERA) has been the most efficient pitcher in the Orioles' starting rotation, winning five straight since April 18. But over the past few weeks he has been pitching in discomfort because of a strained medial collateral ligament, Orioles executive vice president Jim Beattie said.

"It's one of those things he's been dealing with, but yesterday he just didn't feel good," Beattie said. "He thought it would be best that he just shut it down for a couple of weeks."

The move is retroactive to Sunday, the day after Bedard's last start in which he threw seven shutout innings in a win over Philadelphia. He will miss two or three starts.

"He can throw, he can catch and do all the stuff that he's been doing," Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said.

The Orioles called up right-hander Hayden Penn from Double-A Bowie to take Bedard's place in rotation. Penn will make his major league debut Saturday against Detroit.

Penn, a fifth-round selection in the 2002 amateur draft, was 3-3 with a 3.12 ERA at Bowie. The 20-year-old pitcher had 58 strikeouts in 49 innings.

"We were planning on him being here anyhow sometime this year," Orioles pitching coach Ray Miller said. "Now's a good spot. He's got eight or nine starts under his belt and we'll give him a couple starts and see what we get. I always liked how he fields the position and holds runners. He's a quite a competitor."

Bedard was scheduled to start Friday night against Detroit. Sidney Ponson will be moved up from his Saturday assignment to fill the void.

Because Bedard pushes off the mound with his left foot, the motion puts stress on the inside of his left knee, Beattie said. An MRI showed no damage besides the ligament strain.

"I don't think it's something that he necessarily would make worse; it just got to the point where the pain was distracting," Beattie said.

"The last couple starts it would bother him in the bullpen and loosen up, then after the first inning he wouldn't feel it anymore. But this time when he went out to throw between starts, it really was bothering him quite a bit more."

The injury is the latest in a series that has tested the mettle of the first-place Orioles. Outfielder Sammy Sosa returned Tuesday after missing 16 games with a staph infection under his left foot, but Baltimore now is without Bedard, starting center fielder Luis Matos (broken finger) and starting catcher Javy Lopez (broken hand).

Bedard, now in his second season, has held opposing batters to a .224 batting average and has allowed only 14 earned runs in nine starts. Eight of those runs came in his lone loss, to Detroit on April 18.

"We'll get through it. We'll get someone to come up and give us some good starts," Beattie said. "We've been fortunate so far; we've had some injuries and we've still been able to battle, and I'm sure we'll continue to do that."

First Lopez and now Bedard who has been "quietly" putting up the best numbers on the staff will test the O's depth

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