Manager Don Wakamatsu talked with Erik Bedard and Tacoma Rainiers manager Daren Brown this morning and everything is on schedule for Bedard to start on Tuesday at Safeco Field against the Kansas City Royals.
Bedard threw 81 pitches last 4 1/3 innings last night in his final rehab start with the Tacoma Rainiers as part of the final step his recovery from offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum.
Obviously that's a lot of pitches over a short amount of time. But Wakamatsu liked what he heard in the reports.
“I talked to Daren Brown and he said he was fine," Wakamatsu said. "His change-up command was so-so, and his velocity was 88 to 93. But the biggest thing for us is that he felt good after. He’s in good spirits, is ready to pitch and that’s the bottom line."
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It's unrealistic to think that Bedard would have pinpoint command since it was just his third rehab appearance. He hasn't thrown in a big league game since July 25, 2008. Wakamatsu isn't overly worried about the command. The only way it will improve will be for Bedard to throw in big league games.
“We talked about different things and even if it’s a short outing on Tuesday we gain a lot getting him back out there pitching," Wakamatsu said. "Again, he feels good about the health and where he’s at right now. We’re ready to go with it.”
Another reason for the elevated pinch count was that Bedard was ordered to throw his changeup more. And he did.
"I threw a lot of them," Bedard said after the game.
But the command of the pitch still isn't there. In the past, Bedard hasn't used the changeup much. Wakamatsu doesn't consider it an outstanding pitch, yet. But he believes it will make him better. Bedard relied heavily on his fastball and brilliant overhand curveball extensively in the past because, well, he was effective with it. But Wakamatsu believes that throwing changeups will make him more efficient in terms of pitch count.
"The curveball isn't a pitch guys are going to swing at early in the count," Wakamatsu said. "So it forces him to always throw it for a strike. With the changeup, you're changing speeds early in the count and you get more swings and misses. It's also good to show it early to make hitters aware that he has it."
Wakamatsu said the decision as to who will be bumped from the rotation will be made in a few days. It seems likely that Ryan Rowland-Smith will be moved out since it's his normal turn to pitch on Tuesday.
Franklin Gutierrez is taking batting practice now, but he's still feeling the after effects of the stomach flu. He will be a game time decision.
Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera was scratched from the lineup with a sore lower back. Don Kelly will play first. The Mariners can't be sad about this.
- Ichiro DH
- Chone Figgins 2B
- Russell Branyan 1B
- Milton Bradley RF
- Jose Lopez 3B
- Franklin Gutierrez CF
- Jack Wilson SS
- Rob Johnson C
- Michael Saunders LF
RHP Doug Fister (3-3, 2.81 ERA)
- Austin Jackson CF
- Ramon Santiago SS
- Johnny Damon DH
- Maggilo Ordonez RF
- Brennan Boesch LF
- Carlos Guillen 2B
- Brandon Inge 3B
- Al Avila C
- Don Kelly 1B
RHP Max Scherzer (4-6, 5.26 ERA)