11:30 p.m., April 8)
into trouble in season debut
By Fred Sherwin
native son Erik Bédard gave up three runs on six hits in five innings of
work in his first start of the season against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday.
more than nine months since Navan hurler Erik Bédard last took the mound
in a regular season game for the Seattle Mariners.
After being placed
on the 60-day disabled list with a shoulder injury last July, Bédard underwent
minor surgery to remove a cyst in his left shoulder which sidelined him
for the rest of the season.
Before the start
of spring training, the Mariners signed him to a one year contract worth
$7.75 million. He then went out and had a very underwhelming spring training
campaign punctuated by a strained buttock that caused him to miss a pair
As it is, he
pitched 11 innings in five starts, giving up seven earned runs for an ERA
of 5.56. He also walked more batters than he struck out, which is unusual
for the big left-hander.
Because of his
so-so performance during spring training, he was penciled in as the team's
number two starter behind Felix Hernandez. It is against this backdrop that
Bédard took the mound for his first regular season start in more than nine
months on Tuesday.
After the leadoff
hitter reached first base on an infield single, Bédard retired the next
three batters. He then retired the side in the second inning on 10 pitches,
striking out a pair of Twins in the process.
In the third
inning he struck out the first batter on three pitches, got the second hitter
to ground out to the shortstop and forced the third batter to fly out to
Bédard had tougher
time in the fourth inning allowing men to reach second and third on a single
and a double before striking out Delmon Young to get out of the inning.
In the crucial
fifth inning, he gave up a leadoff triple to Carlos Gomez and then struck
out Jose Morales for the first out. He then hit Nick Punto with an errant
pitch to put runners on the corners.
The next batter,
Denard Span, singled the second pitch into right field to drive home Gomez
and send Morales to third base. Bédard then fanned Alexi Cassila for his
seventh strikeout of the game. During the at bat Gomez stole second to put
both runners in scoring position for Michael Cuddyer.
With the count
even at 2-and-2, Bédard appeared to catch Cuddyer looking at a third strike,
but the umpire called it high. Cuddyer then fouled off the 3-2 pitch to
stay alive in the count. The next pitch was a strike low and inside that
Cuddyer muscled into straight-away centerfield to drive in Morales and Gomez.
With the Mariners
still up 4-3, Bédard struck out Justin Morneau to end the inning. After
the Mariners padded their lead in the top of the eighth, the Twins scored
a three runs in the bottom of the ninth to win the game 6-5.
Except for the
fifth inning, it was a respectable first outing for Bédard. In five innings
of work he struck out eight batters, but more importantly he didn't walk
a single batter and he allowed just two extra base hits without yielding
After the game,
Cuddyer told reporters he caught a break on the 2-2 pitch in the fifth inning
that kept him alive before driving the two runs to tie the game.
I was struck out," he admitted.
For his part,
Bédard wasn't about to dwell on the loss.
we still got 160 left," he told reporters after the game, demonstrating
a wit he's rarely revealed in past post game interviews.
start will either be Saturday or Sunday against the Oakland A's .
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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