Perhaps it’s time to have realistic expectations for Erik Bedard pitching in a major league game this season.
Sure the Mariners and fans have been tantalized and tormented as the talented left-hander would get their hopes up that he may pitch again only to see them crushed by injuries to his throwing shoulder.
But as the season grows closer and with each Cactus League start, it’s becoming readily apparent that Bedard will be in the Mariners rotation come opening day.
Bedard had his third straight solid and pain-free outing of the spring, throwing 2 2/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits, while striking out two and walking one against the Los Angeles Angels. He threw 55 pitches with 23 of them for strikes.
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“He threw the ball well again today,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “He was very consistent. The delivery was clean and he was making the baseball do what he wanted to do.”
Of course, Bedard felt he could have pitched better.
“It wasn’t as good as the other ones,” he said. “There were little command inconsistencies. But that is what spring training is for.”
Bedard feels pain free in the surgically repaired shoulder.
"The arm feels really good," he said. "Results are second, arm is first. If it feels good it is a positive. Hopefully it continues like this and right now it is."
How good? Like as good as he felt before any of the shoulder troubles sidelined him.
“I feel like that,” he said. “We will see during the season but right now health-wise and stuff-wise I feel like before."
Wedge remembers how good Bedard was before the injuries. He remembers the Bedard that finished 13-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 2007.
“He was one of the best left-handers in the league when he was with Baltimore,” Wedge said.
Bedard feels so good he wouldn’t even think of the shoulder if it weren’t for the questions about it.
“It doesn’t even cross my mind,” he said.