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Back to Baltimore for Ponson

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Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Righthander is returning to Baltimore after being traded last season to the San Francisco , agreeing on a three-year deal Wednesday with the worth a reported $22 million. The 27-year-old Ponson went 14-6 with a 3.77 ERA in 21 starts for the last season. His domination of American League hitters resulted in four complete games and a better than 2-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio (100/43).

"Sidney has grown tremendously as a pitcher, and he began to put it all together last year. He enjoys the game but he's a tenacious competitor who wants the ball and wants to win, and that is the kind of player we want with the ," explained Mike Flanagan, Baltimore's vice president for baseball operations.

His success, however, was limited while learning how to pitch in the National League. With the , Ponson posted a similar ERA at 3.71, but went just 3-6 in 10 starts.

In his one postseason appearance with San Francisco, Ponson was unable to hold an early 4-1 lead and left after allowing four runs and seven hits in five innings of work.

"With the last year, he got a chance to experience postseason play, which we expect will help us here in the near future," Flanagan said.

The traded three young pitchers, lefthanders and Ryan Hannaman, and righthander , for Ponson at the trade deadline.

The have been busy reshuffling their roster this past offseason. Despite being spurned by outfielder , the acquisitions of shortstop , first baseman and catcher , the new-look are expecting to improve greatly on their 71-91 mark in 2003.

Ponson started his career with Baltimore in 1998, posting a 58-65 record in 177 career games with the and .

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