Where in the world is Erik Bedard?

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Watching guys like Rich Harden and Jason Marquis get rich this offseason brings a question to mind: Where in the world is Erik Bedard?

No one is expecting the left-hander to get a huge contract this offseason, but you’d think there would at least be a little bit of buzz over the oft-injured, frequently surly, yet extremely talented southpaw.

How about a one-year deal? Maybe a contract based heavily on incentives like innings pitched, starts, and interviews conducted without snide remarks? An invite to spring training? Anyone? Hello? Bueller?

Well it turns out there is one heckuva good reason no one is talking about Bedard. As Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports, no one knows when he’ll actually be able to pitch again.

The problem is, nobody really has a handle on when he’ll actually be back. The most optimistic suggestions I’ve heard from around the game is that Bedard could be ready to pitch in a major league game by May.

On the pessimistic side, I’m hearing he’s unlikely to be ready by the first half.

Baker mentions that it’s possible Bedard could return to the Mariners, and that the Orioles have shown interest. But nothing is going to happen soon. Bedard, who has made only 15 starts in each of the last two seasons and has never topped 200 innings in his seven years in the bigs, just can’t get healthy. And there’s no reason to throw money at a guy who will only give you a doctor bill in return.

Speaking of medical evaluations, I imagine any conversation between a team doctor and Bedard would go something like this, with apologies to Airplane!:

Team doctor: Erik, how soon can you pitch?
Bedard: I can’t tell.
Doc: You can tell me. I’m a doctor.
Bedard: No. I mean I’m just not sure.
Doc: Well, can’t you take a guess?
Bedard: Well, not for another two hours.
Doc: You can’t take a guess for another two hours?

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks. For more baseball news, go to NBCSports.com.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”