It's an interesting question: If you liked Erik Bedard, would you view his season differently.
Certainly, he hasn't always gotten the benefit of the doubt from teammates and media, and now he's about to undergo exploratory surgery to determine just how badly the labrum in his left shoulder is injured.
Jim Riggleman was asked about Bedard today, and his response was illuminating.
"Obviously, he was pitching with injury, not with pain, but we didn't know that," Riggleman said. "Pitchers never tell you – they feel if they can't pitch, they're not part of the team. They know if they have an MRI done, it will find something. So that's the nature of pitchers. They don't tell you.
"Adrian Beltre played in pain, and we admired him for that. It's the same with Erik, What he did was admirable."
Last week, Bedard said he could pinpoint the moment his left shoulder turned on him – in his second start of the season. He made 13 more before, on July 4, walking off the mound and stunning the team.
"He told (trainer) Rick Griffin 'My shoulder is killing me,'" Riggleman said. "That was the first we knew about it.
"Early in the season, John McLaren asked him. I think Mel (Stottlemyre) asked him. He'd tell them during a game when he was done, but when he was asked if he was hurt, he said no."
Once Bedard was shut down, a number of the Mariners questioned everything from his heart to his pain threshold to his willingness to pitch. Riggleman said now that everyone knows Bedard has a torn labrum, those opinions should change.
"His teammates should have more respect for him now. He tried pitching with a tear in his labrum, and 'labrum' is sort of a four-letter word to pitchers. It scares them," Riggleman said.
"I don't know what the organization could have done differently. You trade for him, stretch him out in spring training and in his second start he hurts something but doesn't tell you," he said.
"We tell every pitcher every spring, when something is wrong, tell us. And they all nod their heads – and then never do it."