Baltimore Orioles Inside Pitch: 04/09/07

Kris Benson is out for the season

In this edition of the Inside Pitch, we take a look at the early part of the Orioles' 2007 season. Erik Bedard returns for a strong second start, Kevin Millar is on fire, and the defense needs to be more consistent.

INSIDE PITCH

The Orioles heaved a collective sigh of relief Sunday when left-hander Erik Bedard pitched against the Yankees the way he was expected to pitch as the top man in the rotation this season.

After being tagged for six runs on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings against the Twins on Opening Day, there was some concern. Nobody in the organization would admit it, but more than a few people were worried.

"He kind of lost command, but that happens," catcher Paul Bako said. "He was basically lights-out for all of spring training. Unfortunately, he was probably due for an outing where he didn't have his command throughout the ballgame.

"But he's our ace," Bako added. "He knows that and we know that. We expect him to come out next time and pitch like he can."

Bedard didn't let the catcher down. He came back and pitched the way he knows how. And he came away a winner.

ORIOLES 6, YANKEES 4: Erik Bedard gave up three first-inning runs, two of them on Alex Rodriguez's home run, then blanked the Yankees for the next six innings. Paul Bako hit a three-run homer and Kevin Millar had three RBIs on a homer and double to provide all the offense the Orioles needed. Millar and Bako had combined for two hits in the previous five games.

NOTES, QUOTES

--DH/LF Kevin Millar played in left field on Saturday for the first time in more than a year and responded with his first hit of the season after going 0-for-12 to start the year. He followed up with two hits, a homer and double, and three RBIs on Sunday.

--C Paul Bako hit a three-run homer against the Yankees on Sunday. It was his first HR since Aug. 21, 2004.

--C Ramon Hernandez, who pulled his left oblique muscle two days before Opening Day, was put on the 15-day DL on Sunday retroactive to March 31 and will go to Sarasota for extended spring training for a rehab assignment. He'll be eligible to return on April 15.

--LF Jay Payton, who has been sidelined with a pulled hamstring suffered during spring training, was sent to extended spring training at Sarasota to rehab his injury. He is eligible to be activated on Wednesday.

--LHP Erik Bedard allowed the Yankees only three runs on five hits, one being a two-run homer by Alex Rodriguez, while pitching six innings and getting his first win on Sunday.

--RF Nick Markakis got three hits to run his New York totals to 7-for-15 with a HR, a double and two RBIs.

--LHP Kurt Birkins was recalled from Class AAA Norfolk to fill the roster spot vacated on Sunday when C Ramon Hernandez was put on the DL.

BY THE NUMBERS: 0 -- RBIs this season by both Paul Bako and Kevin Millar before they each got three in the Orioles' 6-4 win over the Yankees on Sunday.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It doesn't matter how many points the other team puts up. The game of baseball is to catch the ball when it's hit to you. We just didn't do it enough." -- Manager Sam Perlozzo, in reference to his team making two errors and misplaying a couple of others in a loss at Minnesota.

ROSTER REPORT

ROTATION:

1. LHP Erik Bedard

2. RHP Daniel Cabrera

3. RHP Jaret Wright

4. LHP Adam Loewen

5. RHP Steve Trachsel

BULLPEN:

RHP Chris Ray (closer)

RHP Jeremy Guthrie

RHP Scott Williamson

RHP Chad Bradford

LHP Jamie Walker

RHP Danny Baez

LHP John Parrish

LINEUP:

1. 2B Brian Roberts

2. 3B Melvin Mora

3. RF Nick Markakis

4. SS Miguel Tejada

5. 1B Aubrey Huff

6. C Ramon Hernandez

7. DH Jay Gibbons/Kevin Millar

8. LF Jay Payton

9. CF Corey Patterson

RESERVES:

INF Chris Gomez

C Paul Bako

OF Freddie Bynum

C Alberto Castillo

ROOKIE WATCH: Hayden Penn, 22, could find himself this season after some struggles in 2006. He did not open the season with Baltimore but could be called up when someone falters.

MEDICAL WATCH:

--C Ramon Hernandez (pulled left oblique muscle) was placed on the disabled list retroactive to March 31.

--OF Jay Payton (pulled left hamstring) was hurt on March 20 and started the season on the disabled list.

--UT Jason Dubois (pulled hamstring) was hurt on March 30 and started the season on the disabled list.

--RHP Paul Shuey (strained tendon in his right foot) is making good progress. He could be ready by late April.

--RHP Kris Benson (rotator cuff) had surgery on March 20. He will miss the entire season.

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