Bedard 'healthy' after pitching for M's
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Erik Bedard declared himself fine after he threw for 12 minutes in the bullpen on Sunday, his first work off a mound in front of Seattle Mariners eyes since having season-ending surgery on his throwing shoulder last September.
Bedard didn't start after July 4 last season, a disappointing one after the Mariners traded five top prospects to Baltimore for what they thought would be their ace in 2008.
How curious were the Mariners to see Bedard throw Sunday? New general manager Jack Zduriencik, assistant GM Lee Pelekoudas, first-time manager Don Wakamatsu, trainer Rick Griffin and new pitching coach Rick Adair all watched from a few feet away as the left-hander threw smoothly.
"I wasn't even thinking about that," Bedard said of trying to make a strong first impression while throwing about 35 pitches.
"He looked in shape and he looked healthy," Wakamatsu said. "We're not trying to put all the attention on one guy. I think it was a big help, the meeting I had with him before the season. I got to know him, and we've built a good relationship. He's got a good sense of humor. He just doesn't want to be the center of attention.
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"That's fine. As long as he goes out there every five days, we'll be happy."
Last Sept. 26, after Bedard went 6-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 15 starts, Dr. Lewis Yocum removed a cyst from Bedard's pitching shoulder and cut away some tissue. Recovery time from that procedure typically is six months, but Bedard is one month ahead of that right now.
He began throwing during the second week of December in his garage at his home near Navan, Ontario, off his portable plastic mound. By the first of the year, Bedard said the scar tissue had loosened and he felt pain-free, as he has since. He said his shoulder troubles are completely out of his mind.
"It was normal, because I've been throwing bullpens at home. So I knew how it felt," Bedard said of Sunday's workout.
Asked what the difference was between now and last year, he said simply, "It just doesn't hurt."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press