There’s no definitive word on the status of Erik Bedard’s shoulder after his MRI today, but what doctors are seeing is ominous enough that general manager Jack Zduriencik just told me that “it’s probably a longshot” that Bedard will pitch again for the Mariners this year.
Of course, that means he very well might have thrown his last pitch for them, period, with his contract expiring after the season and free agency looming. In fact, Zduriencik said that surgery is “possible” for Bedard, which would obviously end his season and quite likely his Mariners’ tenure.
“I think it’s good news in the fact it’s not serious, but bad news in the fact we’re probably not going to have him,” Zduriencik said. “To me, I think if a guy is not healthy, how can he pitch?”
Manager Don Wakamatsu told us that in reading the MRI, doctors “found some issues in his shoulder” which he later characterized as “slight fraying.” But the doctors are still going over the data, and consulting with Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels’ team physician who did Bedard’s surgery last Sept. 26, in which a cyst was removed from his left shoulder.There apparently is no cyst involved this time, Wakamatsu said.
“We don’t know the severity of it yet,” Wakamatsu said. “But there’s something in there causing some discomfort, and they saw it. Right now, we’re going to wait and talk to the doctors some more, and try to come up with a definitive plan on what we’re going to do with his rehab, and determine what he needs to do to progress. We really don’t have all the details yet.”
Yes, that plan could involve surgery, Zduriencik said, when I asked him about the possibility of Bedard pitching again this year.
“I’d say it’s probably a longshot,” he said of Bedard coming back this year. “I think so much of it depends on what they find if they decide to go in there (in a surgery). If they go in there, who knows the degree of whatever is in there. That will determine how long he’ll be out. Anytime you have any sort of surgery, you have to err on the side of caution, and I think that’s what our plan is.”
However, Zduriencik said, surgery is “yet to be determined. The doctors have to consult. We’ll probably know more in two days than we do today.”
Bedard, who is on his second DL stint this year from shoulder issues, and his fourth DL stint in two years with Seattle, is 5-3 with a 2.82 ERA in 15 starts. In his two seasons with the Mariners — at a cost of Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Kam Mickolio, Tony Butler, and $14.75 million in salary over the past two years — he has given them 30 starts (15 each year) and 11 victories.
Both Zduriencik and Wakamatsu defended Bedard.
“When you talk to a player, you never question if they’re actually hurt,” Wakamatsu said. “Especially in his case, we know he wants to pitch and compete for this ballclub.”
“I do believe when Erik was pitching for us this year, he was throwing good and he was real good,” Zduriencik said. “The fact he’s had this setback again, everyone should give Erik the benefit of the doubt. He’s a competitive guy when he’s on the mound, when he’s healthy. At this moment in time, it’s just not the way it is. My concern right now is he gets healthy, and we’ll see how it is as we move forward.”