O's Excited To Land Bell, Johnson For Sherrill




BALTIMORE—If the Orioles were going to trade closer George Sherrill at the trade deadline, they wanted a third baseman and another young pitcher in return. Those were the demands.

The Dodgers obliged, giving up Double-A third baseman Josh Bell and righthander Steve Johnson. Bell and Johnson were assigned to Double-A Bowie.

"There comes a time when you have to try to address some needs going down the road and try to get that group of talent together for a long time, and we think that's what this trade represents," Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said. "We'll have to endure some short-term pain, but we think we'll get some long-term gains."

Bell, 22, was batting .296/.386/.497 with 30 doubles, 11 home runs and 52 RBIs in 334 at-bats with Double-A Chattanooga. He eventually could replace Melvin Mora at third base, though he might not be ready by Opening Day 2010.

"There are mixed emotions," said Bell, a fourth-round pick in 2005. "I've grown up with the Dodgers after getting drafted out of high school. But business is business. I feel like I've got a real shot with the Orioles. Here I was blocked."

Johnson was a combined 9-6, 3.64 with 125 strikeouts in 116 innings, including his first two starts with Bowie. He pitched for high Class A Inland Empire and Chattanooga in the Dodgers system.

MacPhail referred to the 22-year-old Johnson, a Maryland native and son of former Orioles pitcher Dave Johnson, as a "somewhat of an under-the-radar starter for the Dodgers who continues to get better." Johnson is a local product, having spent his high school years at St. Paul's in Baltimore.

"I wanted to come pitch for the Orioles, but I thank the Dodgers for even giving me a chance four years ago," said Johnson, a 13th round pick in 2005. "I had fun here, but it's going to be great to go home and pitch for the Orioles, and I hope that I can get up there and be able to pitch in the big leagues and pitch at home.

"Everyone—my friends and family—will be able to see me pitch a lot easier. Everything is right there. It's pretty big for me."

Bird Seed

• The Orioles signed outfielder Freddy Guzman to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Norfolk. Guzman is a .213 hitter in 37 career games in the majors, most recently with the Rangers in 2007.

• Bowie righthander Brandon Erbe threw eight no-hit innings against New Hampshire on Aug. 6, walking three and fanning five. He was taken out after 108 pitches.