BALTIMORE (AP) - Erik Bedard should feel right at home on the mound at Camden Yards on Sunday, even though he will be wearing the road uniform of the Seattle Mariners.
For the first time since being traded by the Baltimore Orioles in February, Bedard will face his former teammates. The good-natured trash talking began before the four-game series started Friday night.
``A little bit,'' Bedard conceded Saturday. ``They know me as much as I know them, so I don't know if it's an advantage or a disadvantage. We'll have to see.''
Bedard set a franchise record with 221 strikeouts last year before being dealt to the Mariners for Adam Jones, George Sherrill and three pitching prospects. Upon his arrival in Seattle, Bedard spoke about how difficult it was playing for a team that never had a winning season during his stay.
``With Baltimore, it seemed like we were always going backward,'' he said on Feb. 8. ``When I first got there it was fun, because we were signing a lot of guys and were looking forward to competing with Boston and New York. It all went downhill from there.''
Told that the perception was that he disliked playing for the Orioles, Bedard replied Saturday, ``I don't know where they got that. The fans, the players, the coaches - all of that, that was a lot of fun.''
Now with a contender, the left-hander is unsure of the reception he will receive from fans who used to cheer his every pitch.
``No idea,'' Bedard said. ``I do (care), but it's not going to change my emotions.''
The Orioles didn't expect to sign Bedard to a long-term contract, so they reluctantly parted with their ace. They expect him to be just as tough to hit in a Seattle uniform as he was with Baltimore.
``My feelings about Erik haven't changed because he's on the other side. He's one of the best pitchers in baseball,'' Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. ``What he did for me personally as a manager here last year, I'll remember that. He gave us a chance to win each and every time he went out there. It would be to our benefit to learn how to compete against somebody like that and to do our best, because that would be a good test for our guys.''
Bedard gave up three hits and a run in five innings Monday against Texas in his Seattle debut. He has been checking box scores to see how his former teammates have fared.
``When you have friends in the game, you always look at their stats and see if they're doing good or not,'' he said. ``You just try not to let them do it against you.''

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