Newly updated with Carlos Silva quotes and a more definitive timetable of recovery for Erik Bedard, which won’t be enough time for him to pitch again this year
3:52 p.m.: Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu just told us Erik Bedard will undergo exploratory surgery on his labrum area and the bursa complex in his left shoulder on Friday. The team isn’t saying it yet, but his season is done.
Dr. Lewis Yocum will probe the area to see whether or not there is anything structurally wrong with Bedard’s bursa area. This is the area where the bursa — which provides lubrication for the shoulder joint — slides back and forth as a shoulder moves. If something impedes that movement, it can be like a pebble in a shoe, only a whole lot more painful.
The labrum also has fraying and Yocum will make sure there is nothing more seriously damaged there.
“I have no idea whether he can pitch the rest of the year,” Wakamatsu said.
Even if nothing further is found, Bedard would need time to recover from the operation, then begin a throwing program. It takes pitchers roughly six weeks to recover from arthroscopic shoulder surgery before they even begin throwing. You do the math. The minor league season ends in a few weeks, so he would not have the opportunity to go on a rehabilitation stint. But then again, he wouldn’t even be ready to go on one because he’d be starting to throw again with only a week or so left in the season. In other words, his Mariners career could be done.
As I mentioned today on my Talkin’ Baseball segment on KJR AM 950’s Mitch in the Morning show, the Mariners could offer Bedard a low-risk, incentive-laden deal to come back here next year.
After all, there aren’t going to be a boatload of teams lining up to throw $50 million at a guy coming off two successive years of shoulder surgery. Those of you still suggesting Bedard is somehow “faking” his injury: consider the money he is leaving on the table here. A guy would have to be clinically insane to do that.
I have no doubt he’s feeling pain of some sort. The question is to figure out what it is and whether he can handle it moving forward.
The Mariners can take a risk on Bedard, but there is no guarantee it will pan out. The White Sox being in town tonight, I can remember Chicago pitcher Mike Sirotka being traded for David Wells back in 2001. Sirotka felt a little discomfort in his elbow at the time and wound up never throwing another pitch in a major league game. And he was in the prime of his career.
Something is obviously up with Bedard and the player and team want to figure out exactly what that is before anyone starts to wonder about next year. This is serious business. Yes, we’ve had some issues in this space with how Bedard has handled himself over the past year or two (mainly in 2008), but nobody wants to see a guy’s career end.
Bedard was one of the game’s top pitchers midway through 2007. We might find out a whole lot on Friday about why he hasn’t been the same since.
By the way, Carlos Silva threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session today and his arm supposedly looked good. The ball was said to be coming out free and easy.
“I threw the first five pitches without any mechanics,” Silva told me. “I just wanted to see how it felt. After that, I started to use my mechanics and it felt great.”
Silva estimated he was throwing at about 70 percent speed. He’ll throw another bullpen session on Saturday and will accompany the team on its ensuing road trip to Detroit and Cleveland.
Yes, there is a chance he could pitch before year’s end.
“That’s what i’m hoping,” he said.