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01/15/09 9:25 PM EST

Three key Orioles file for arbitration

Team can work out deals with Markakis, Scott and Sherrill

BALTIMORE -- Three key Orioles filed for arbitration on Thursday, binding themselves to the team in the process. George Sherrill, Nick Markakis and Luke Scott have all filed for arbitration, but representatives for the players and the team will be able to reach their own settlement all the way up to the arbitrator's final ruling.

Markakis, perhaps the team's best all-around player, will be experiencing the arbitration process for the first time in his career. The right fielder batted .306 with a .406 on-base percentage last season and also led the American League with 17 outfield assists. The former first-round pick hit 20 home runs and scored 106 runs for Baltimore.

Markakis, who's been in the league exactly three seasons, has discussed a contract extension with the Orioles that would take him past his first shot at free agency. The two sides haven't been able to reach an agreement on a long-term deal, but Markakis is highly valued within the organization and can't be a free agent until after the 2011 season.

Sherrill joined the Orioles as part of last winter's Eric Bedard trade, and he settled in as the full-time closer en route to earning the first All-Star berth of his career. The southpaw had injury problems down the stretch, but the Orioles expect him to seize the closer's job again. Sherrill will also be complimented by erstwhile closer Chris Ray.

Scott, who earned Super Two arbitration eligibility, came over from Houston in last winter's Miguel Tejada trade. Scott batted .257 with 23 home runs and 65 RBIs last season and will likely get the main share of at-bats in left field again.

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.