12:30 p.m., Aug. 16)
to return to form
By Fred Sherwin
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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