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Baseball notebook

Herges sorry for using enhancers

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Associated Press / February 14, 2008

Colorado Rockies reliever Matt Herges says he's actually glad he was implicated in the Mitchell Report on drugs in baseball because it led him to do some soul-searching and clear his conscience over his "dirty little secret."

"I didn't used to be this way, but I'm at the point where I know what I did was wrong 100 percent, no excuses, not justification, no rationalization. I screwed up and I crossed the line," the 37-year-old pitcher said in an interview from his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., yesterday.

"I feel like I've been shown mercy in all of this," Herges said. "If I'm not standing there naked in front of the world with my big secret, I'd still be holding onto it, hiding it. It would still be eating at me. It's not fun by any stretch holding onto something like that, so secretive, so dirty. I'm freed a little bit, a lot actually."

Rockies first base coach Glenallen Hill, who was also implicated in the Mitchell Report, and Herges broke their silence on the matter by issuing written apologies for using performance-enhancing drugs. They said they would work to make sure impressionable youngsters don't make the same mistakes.

Lopez in arbitration

Felipe Lopez and the Washington Nationals went to baseball's first salary arbitration hearing of the year yesterday, with the infielder asking for $5.2 million and the team arguing for $4.9 million.

Lopez hit .245 last season with 9 homers, 50 RBIs and 24 steals. He made $3.9 million.

Arbitrators Christine Knowlton, Elliott Shriftman and Steven Wolf were expected to make a decision today or tomorrow.

Bedard will open

Lefthander Erik Bedard, obtained last week by Seattle, will start on Opening Day.

Bedard was expected to compete with Felix Hernandez for the top spot in Seattle's rotation, but Mariners manager John McLaren said he informed Bedard of his decision yesterday in Peoria, Ariz.

"I just think he's got more experience," McLaren said. "Basically that's the main reason why."

Ryan may be ready

Closer B.J. Ryan said he expects to be ready for Opening Day after having Tommy John elbow surgery last May.

"It's what I shot for all winter," Ryan said from Dunedin, Fla. "You bust your tail the whole time and put myself in a situation where you can break with the team."

Ryan said he thinks his elbow is nearly as good as it was before the season-ending surgery nine months ago.

Dodgers, Saito agree

Righthander Takashi Saito agreed to a $2 million, one-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in Vero Beach, Fla., a day before the team's pitchers and catchers report to spring training. "I'm very relieved to clean everything up," he said through a translator. Saito, who can earn an additional $200,000 in incentives, was 2-1 with a 1.40 ERA and 39 saves in 43 chances with the Dodgers last season. Saito, who turns 38 today, signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers two years ago after playing 14 seasons for Yokohama of the Japanese Central League. He was 6-2 with a 2.07 ERA and 24 saves in 26 chances in his first NL season . . . Kris Benson agreed to terms on a minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies after missing last season following rotator cuff surgery on his throwing shoulder last March.

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