Volume 12 Week 5

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Orléans Ward
Matt Luloff

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney





'(Posted 11:30 p.m., April 8)
Bédard runs into trouble in season debut
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Navan 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. File photo

It's been 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 of starts.

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 leftfield.

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 a homerun.

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 thought I was struck out," he admitted.

For his part, Bédard wasn't about to dwell on the loss.

"Luckily we still got 160 left," he told reporters after the game, demonstrating a wit he's rarely revealed in past post game interviews.

Bédard's next start will either be Saturday or Sunday against the Oakland A's .

'(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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