Bedard starting to ramp up recovery
Mariners' injured lefty ready to start bullpen sessions
ARLINGTON -- Left-hander Erik Bedard passed a more vigorous game of catch on Sunday and the next step on his return from the 15-day disabled list occurs on Tuesday."I think today is a big day to see where he's at," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said before Bedard's throwing session at Rangers Ballpark. "We'll push him a little more and if he feels good we'll continue down this path." Several minutes later, Bedard walked into the visiting clubhouse and said the session went well and he will throw a bullpen on Tuesday prior to the Mariners' series opener against the Royals in Kansas City. Any discomfort would have raised a red flag and the injury-plagued left-hander would have had another MRI, along with an otherwise uncertain schedule for the next few weeks. "We want to make sure he's 100 percent," Wakamatsu said, "and today will give us a good idea about that. We don't want to continue down the same path as before and have to put him back on the DL." Bedard has a 5-3 record and 2.82 ERA in 15 starts this season, but has been on the disabled list twice, the current stint starting on Wednesday. He is eligible to come off the DL on Aug. 10. He was sidelined on June 7 with left shoulder inflammation, returned on July 7, made four starts and went back on the DL. None of the starts lasted longer than 5 2/3 innings, and the most recent one, against the Indians, went three frames. He threw 81 pitches. "We could go a completely different route and pitch him out of the bullpen," Wakamatsu said, "but I don't want to do that. I think his value is as a starting pitcher. It would be too hard to predict a regular schedule, and that's the biggest reason." Bedard has been on anti-inflammatory medication during this DL stint, and Wakamatsu said it seems to be working. Now it's a matter of throwing a bullpen, rebuilding his arm strength to where he can throw up to 100 pitches, preferably for six or seven innings.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.