Erik Bedard is one step closer to returning to the Seattle Mariners rotation. And the final step may come on Thursday when he pitches in what the Mariners hope will be his final rehab start in his long recovery from offseason shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum. His last big league start was July 25, 2009.
Manager Don Wakamtsu said that pitching coach Rick Adair talked with Bedard earlier today and the lefty is all ready to make his start at Cheney Stadium against the Portland Beavers at 7 p.m.
I highly recommend going if you got nothing better to do. It's also the Tasty Thursday event, so there's beer and hot dog specials.
Bedard will be on a pitch count of around 85.
"If this outing goes good, his pitch-count goes up and there are not problems, we’re looking at the game on July 6 against Kansas City.”
Wakamatsu wouldn't come out and say who would be bumped out of the rotation, but everyone knows it will be Ryan Rowland-Smith, unless Cliff Lee is traded before then.
But Rowland-Smith is also pitching on Thursday, so it slots out perfectly for Bedard to fill his spot.
A few of the local writers - all three of us - talked with GM Jack Zduriencik again. Obviously, we aren't going to get much from big Jack. We know that well enough by now. But you try and get a few hints from him.
It wasn't that long ago that Jack said he was going to evaluate the team over a certain period of time to make a determination about the team's future. Larry Stone reminded him of that.
"I got asked that before, how do you evaluate these things," he said. "You go day by day, week by week, and see what happens. Series by series. Right now, we want to win baseball games. Everybody is intact, what we want to do is go out and keep playing good baseball. I think we’ve won eight of 11. We’re playing better, and that’s what we want to concentrate on."
But how exactly does he think that way knowing that he still has to think ahead?
"You hope to think through everything and let things unfold," he said. "If you try to force something, that’s not the best way to do things. Right now, we want to win baseball games. That is our focus. We owe it to these guys here. I think they’re feeling good about each other. We have five tough games coming up on the road. We’ll see what happens."
When it was mentioned that the media wants him to trade Lee more than he does, Zduriencik just laughed.
"I think it’s just good copy," he said. "Everybody has to write, there’s obvious things out there that are intriguing, if you’re a true baseball fan, or a casual baseball fan. You have your hometown team you root for, a lot of personal interest, and you have your emotions invested in the club. Anytime something happens, whether it’s an injury, or what happened last night, whether it’s a winning streak, something that affects the balance of the ballclub, it’s news, it’s a curiosity. That’s what drives talk radio, the blogs, people buying newspapers. It motivates people. You just have to take it in stride and understand that’s all part of it."
- Ichiro RF
- Chone Figgins 2B
- Russell Branyan 1B
- Milton Bradley DH
- Jose Lopez 3B
- Franklin Gutierrez CF
- Jack Wilson SS
- Rob Johnson C
- Michael Saunders LF
RHP Felix Hernandez (5-5, 3.28 ERA)
- Derek Jeter SS
- Nick Swisher RF
- Mark Teixeira 1B
- Alex Rodriguez 3B
- Robinson Cano 2B
- Jorge Posada DH
- Curtis Granderson CF
- Colin Curtis LF
- Francisco Cervelli C
RHP Javier Vazquez (6-6, 5.16 ERA)