Orioles' Bedard, Cards' Looper complete strong spring camps

Thursday, March 29, 2007

St. Louis' former reliever pitched6 scoreless innings and finished the spring with a 2.18 ERA.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Erik Bedard walked off the mound and into the Baltimore Orioles dugout, where the left-hander was met by manager Sam Perlozzo.

"Great spring," Perlozzo said from the top step before both men shook hands.

In his last start before the regular-season opener, Bedard allowed three runs and eight hits in four innings Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals, who beat an Orioles split squad 5-1.

Braden Looper pitched 6 shutout innings for the Cardinals, further proving that he can be a valuable part of the starting rotation for the defending World Series champions.

The 32-year-old Looper has never pitched more than three innings in a single outing in his major league career. He had 57 saves in two seasons with the New York Mets before going 9-3 with a 3.56 ERA with St. Louis last season.

Looper gave up only four hits, struck out two and did not walk a batter. He made four starts this spring, finished with a 2.18 ERA and is expected to start against the Mets in the Cardinals' opening series.

Bedard, meanwhile, is slated to start the opener in Minnesota on April 9. He finished spring training with a 1.96 ERA over 23 innings.

"You can't ask for much more than that," Perlozzo said.

The three runs Bedard yielded Wednesday were one more than he allowed in his previous five starts this spring.

He gave up a two-run home run to Tagg Bozied in the first inning and an RBI single to Aaron Miles in the second.

"I was just pitching as usual, and I got hit," Bedard said. "A couple of pitches were actually good. The home run was a cutter down the middle. Other than that, they hit good pitches."

St. Louis got a hit in every inning against Bedard, who won a career-high 15 games last year.

"It was just a couple of innings to get ready for the first game," he said. "I was throwing all my pitches and that's all that counts."

Brandon Sing homered for the Orioles in the eighth inning off Ryan Franklin.

Miles went 1-for-4 for the Cardinals. He's batting .208, but his role as a backup infielder is secure.

"He's still a young guy trying to establish that he can be relied on, and he established it again," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He's got good hands, moves well, has a good accurate arm and competes. He's got skills."

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