Former Ashland pitcher Guthrie named opening day starter


The Baltimore Orioles chose Ashland's Jeremy Guthrie to start on opening day, giving the prestigious assignment to a pitcher with just 26 major league starts and seven wins.

Guthrie, a rookie in 2007, moved to the front of the rotation when the Orioles traded ace Erik Bedard to Seattle.

"The guy certainly showed us what he can do last season. He's had a tremendous spring," manager Dave Trembley said before the Orioles and Marlins were rained out in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Saturday. "I think it's the right thing to do. I think it sets up the rest of the rotation the best possible way."

Guthrie will start at home against Tampa Bay on March 31.

A year ago, Guthrie fought his way onto the Orioles' staff after being claimed on waivers from Cleveland during the offseason. A first-round pick by the Indians in 2002, Guthrie moved into the Baltimore rotation by May, finishing the year at 7-5 with a 3.70 ERA in 32 appearances, including 26 starts.

"It's a great honor ... to have the confidence of (Trembley), and I felt the same from my team, from my teammates &

that they feel if I'm out there, we have a chance to win," Guthrie said.

The 28-year-old, who struck out 123 in 175 1-3 innings in 2007, was 6-5 with a 3.44 ERA as a starter, and allowed two or more runs in only three of his first 17 starts last year.

The Florida Marlins, meanwhile, decided to go with Mark Hendrickson, who has a 5.01 career ERA and was signed in January to provide depth for an injury-ravaged rotation.

"It's a nice honor. It's not something that many pitchers can say they got an opportunity to do. For me, I'm just going to approach it like any other start," Hendrickson said.

One of 11 players to suit up in both the NBA and Major League Baseball, Hendrickson was 4-8 with a 5.21 ERA for the Dodgers in 2007. He signed a $1.5 million, one-year deal with the Marlins in January to add an innings-eating veteran to a young rotation.

In other news, three-time All-Star Javy Lopez retired after being reassigned to the Atlanta Braves' minor league camp, ending his bid to return to the majors as a backup catcher.

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