Bedard has 'fun' in Mariners debut
Touched up by Giants, he's really gearing toward Opening Day
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It took significantly less time for left-hander Erik Bedard to forget about his maiden voyage with the Mariners on Friday afternoon than it took for him to pitch two innings."I forgot about it when I sat down on the bench," he said after his 44-pitch outing against the Giants in the Mariners' 5-3 victory in the Cactus League opener at Scottsdale Stadium. "You can't expect much from the first outing. You would like to do well, but oh, well." The Mariners' Opening Day starter, acquired from the Orioles in a five-player trade on Feb. 8, threw 19 pitches in a scoreless first inning and 25 more pitches in the second, when the Giants loaded the bases with none out and scored the game's first three runs. Bedard surrendered four hits, walked two and struck out one. Of the 44 pitches he threw, 31 of them were strikes. When a pitcher scuffles during the early stages of Spring Training, the comment heard most often is: "Well, he got his work in." Well, Bedard got his work in on Friday. "I tried to throw all my pitches, throw them all for strikes and try to get my arm ready," he said. "I was throwing strikes, but they were hitting them. You can't do anything about that. "It was fun to get back on the mound." He'll get back on the mound again next Wednesday when the Mariners play the Angels. It will be another step in the process of getting ready for the season opener on March 31 against the Rangers at Safeco Field. How many hits or runs he surrenders along the way is less important than how his left arm feels. "I feel fine. No problems," he said. Asked how long it would take for his arm to get in shape, he said, "I have no idea." No one really knows, but manager John McLaren believes that come March 31, Bedard will be ready to go and was pleased with what he saw on Friday.
"I thought Erik threw fine," he said. "He was around the plate, looked real strong. He got a few pitches up, but overall I think he threw the ball fine. We're not looking for shutouts every time he pitches. For first time out, I thought he threw the ball fine. He had good velocity and good breaking pitches. I liked what I saw."Mariners catcher Kenji Johjima said Bedard's breaking pitchers were "very good. He had that backdoor cutter, which he threw for a couple of strikes, and I saw great confidence in his breaking." "He could throw his cutter and curveball on any count, bases loaded as well." There has been so much hoopla about the Bedard trade that every time he pitches fans will be watching closely. Perhaps too closely. Asked during his morning media briefing what he would be looking for from Bedard in the Cactus League opener, McLaren said, "To be honest with you, pitchers are just getting their work in. The bottom line is not to have a zero ERA, but to work on things, try new things and build their arm up. "I don't know where Erik falls in, but we're just looking for him to be ready on March 31. That is what we are looking for. If he strikes out nine today or gives up five hits, the main thing is he's getting his work in and getting ready for Opening Day."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.