Erik Bedard faces 12 batters in first minor-league rehab start

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Out since August shoulder surgery, Erik Bedard made his first minor-league rehab start last night and allowed one run in 2.2 innings against rookie-ball hitters.
Bedard faced 12 batters and threw 52 pitches, striking out three, walking none, and giving up four hits. He’s scheduled to make his next rehab start Saturday, also against rookie-ball competition, and barring a setback is expected to move up to the high minors for at least one more outing before potentially joining the Mariners.
Bedard pitched very well after coming back from shoulder surgery last season, going 5-3 with a 2.82 ERA and 90/34 K/BB ratio in 83 innings before being shut down again. If he can jump into Seattle’s rotation at some point next month and perform similarly for a few starts the Mariners might be able to cash him in for something at the trading deadline.
Seattle re-signed Bedard to an incentive-laden one-year contract worth $1.5 million in guaranteed money and also holds an $8 million option or $250,000 buyout on the 31-year-old southpaw for 2011. He’d obviously be a very risky pickup, but the asking price probably isn’t much and if healthy Bedard could potentially help a contender in the second half.

Twins’ minor league pitcher Landa dies in Venezuela

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 05:  Yorman Landa #81 of the Minnesota Twins makes a throw to first base during the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Hammond Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.

The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.

Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.

Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.

Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.

Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.

For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.