By: Chris Gates

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — The Pittsburgh Pirates were very active Wednesday at baseball’s Winter Meetings, filling the roster with the signings of outfielder Nate McLouth and left-handed pitcher Eric Bedard.

McLouth, 30, signed a one-year, $1.75-million deal and will provide a veteran presence in the outfield. He’ll give the Buccos some needed depth along with Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata and Alex Presley.

McLouth was in the Pirates organization from 2000-09 and played five big league seasons in Pittsburgh. His most successful year came in 2008 when he hit .276 with 26 home runs and 94 RBIs. He was dealt to Atlanta the following year, where he struggled to stay healthy and missed roughly half of each of the last two seasons.

McLouth was a .261 hitter in his time in Pittsburgh.

The signing of Bedard addresses a huge need in the starting rotation for a left-handed pitcher. He signed for one year at $4.5 million and brings career success to the staff.

Bedard has a career ERA of 3.70 in parts of eight MLB seasons. He went 5-9 last season between Seattle and Boston, compiling a 3.62 ERA.

He joins right-handers Kevin Correia, James McDonald, Charlie Morton and Jeff Karstens in the starting rotation — a rotation with high expectations for 2012 after a strong 2011 campaign.

Bedard’s downside appears to be his health, which has been erratic. He missed a month in 2011 to a sprained knee. Left elbow and left shoulder surgery forced him to sit out of the 2003 and 2009 seasons.

The Pirates have designated catcher Jason Jaramillo and infielder Pedro Ciriaco  for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for McLouth and Bedard.

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