SEATTLE (AP) -The Seattle Mariners have asked top prospect Adam Jones to leave his Venezuelan Winter League team and return to the U.S., amid reports he's headed to Baltimore as part of a trade for pitcher Erik Bedard.
Mariners spokesman Tim Hevly confirmed Sunday night the team had requested the return of Jones, who was expected to be one of Seattle's starting outfielders when the season begins.
``We did ask Adam to come back from Venezuela,'' Hevly said, declining to give a reason for the request.
That confirmation followed Sunday's Seattle Times report that Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi was making Jones the centerpiece of a deal for Bedard. The Times, citing comments obtained from a Venezuelan newspaper, reported Jones said he'd discussed the deal with Bavasi and was going to Baltimore on Monday for a physical.
Last week, Bavasi said his team, a surprise contender last summer until a weak starting rotation finally collapsed in September, expects to have a newly acquired opening-day starter on March 31 against Texas.
``We are at the point now where we have to try to make these moves to get that top-of-the-rotation guy, to slot the rest of the rotation,'' Bavasi said Thursday. ``We feel we have to make one more move.''
The 28-year-old Bedard went 13-5 last season with a 3.16 ERA and 221 strikeouts, third in the AL. He's currently scheduled for an arbitration hearing next month, with the left-hander asking for $8 million per season and Baltimore countering at $6 million.
Jones, who will turn 23 this summer, hit .246 in 41 games last year.

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