When Erik Bedard came off the disabled list this month, he made two starts before his left shoulder started hurting whenever he threw a fastball.
"It just got consistently worse, but after my third start I didn't say anything - I didn't want to skip a start," Bedard said today. "We're playing well, we're winning and the team counted on me to be there every fifth day."
Bedard's fourth start was four days ago against Cleveland, and in it he threw 81 pitches in three innings.
"Not good," he said of the effort. "I felt OK warming up, but in the game, whenever I'd max out the fastball, there was a sharp pain, and I didn't have any command of the ball.
"I could throw the curve without the pain. I just assumed it was tendinitis, and that I could pitch through it."
When Bedard came out after the third inning, manager Don Wakamatsu told him he was done. Bedard didn't argue. He was in pain and pitching ineffectively.
After the game, Wakamatsu, general manager Jack Zduriencik and trainer Rick Griffin met with Bedard.
"I didn't volunteer anything," he said. "But I didn't really have to. They knew something was wrong, so I told them."
There is, as of now, no official diagnosis other than inflammation, and Bedard is getting treatment for it.
Wakamatsu said today Bedard would try to throw tomorrow, in part to evaluate his progress, in part to keep him stretched out while on the disabled list.
Bedard will try, he said, to do everything he's asked to do. As of today, however, the discomfort remains little changed.
"If my arm is at my side, I'm fine," he said. "If I lift it, it hurts."
He is aware - perhaps hyper-aware - of the complaints that he is injury prone or, worse, a wimp.
"I work hard, but in this game everyone works hard," he said. "Some people just get hurt, and you can't explain it. You can't explain everything that happens, you just deal with it.
"I feel terrible. I'm letting my team down, and I don't know when I'll pitch again. I we had a magic wand, we could wave it over my shoulder and I'd be fine."
Instead, he takes his meds, does his exercises, goes through the ice packs and heat packs and waits for the pain to subside when he lifts his left arm.
"My teammates are supportive, but when guys ask 'How are you doing?' I always say, 'OK.' I don't know what else to say."