Volume 12 Week 5

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'(Posted 12:30 p.m., Aug. 16)
Bédard determined to return to form
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

A day after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery, Navan native Erik Bédard says he plans to do whatever it takes to return to the form that made him one of the most fearsome pitchers in the major leagues. Whether or not that will be with his current team, the Seattle Mariners, remains to be seen.

Bédard underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder on Friday. During the operation doctors also cleaned up additional fraying in the joint. With proper rehab he should be able to pitch again in four to six months.

During a media availability in Seattle on Saturday, Bédard's surgery was less a part of the conversation than was his future with the club. The hard throwing lefty is about to become a free agent and speculation is running rampant that the Mariners are reluctant to take part in the sweepstakes, especially at his current salary of $7.75 million.

For his part, Bédard told reporters that he's still interested in pitching in Seattle and having the chance to show the fans his true capabilities over an entire season. His first priority, however, is to get healthy.

"I'm going to think about that when the offseason comes. I'm not going to think about next year now, I'm going to think about getting better and getting strong," said Bédard, who was sporting a large cast and a brace during the interview.

Assuming Bédard files for free agency, the Mariners have the option of offering to go to arbitration in February. As a free agent Bédard has the option of accepting the offer to go to arbitration or rejecting it and taking his chances on the open market.

Considering there's a very good chance an arbitrator would award him something close to his current salary, Bédard might be inclined to go the arbitration route. But the very reason Bédard would accept salary arbitration is the very same reason the Mariners would be reluctant to go down that path.

The team gave up five players to acquire his services from the Baltimore Orioles in 2008, including all-stars George Sherrill and Adam Jones, and they have subsequently paid him $14.75 million for two injury shortened seasons in which he won a grand total of 11 games. The thought of gambling another seven or eight million dollars on the hope that he'll stay injury free for the entire season is nor exactly the most appealing thought in the world.

On the flip side, a healthy Erik Bédard is a heck of an asset for any team to have in their lineup -- even more so if he's still pitching meaningful games in late August and September -- which is why his health is such an issue.

Bédard will stay in Seattle for an indefinite period of time before returning to Navan where he recently built a multi-million dollar home complete with a gym, indoor swimming pool and workout room with a regulation mound, home plate and backstop.

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

 

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