When will Erik Bedard be ready to pitch?

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Thumbnail image for bedard.jpgWe haven’t heard much from the Erik Bedard camp this winter. After
undergoing shoulder surgery last August there have been some
wide-ranging opinions on when he’ll be ready to to pitch in the majors
again. Some say it could be as early as May, while others have
suggested it could be mid-season.

Orioles president Andy MacPhail is one of the more optimistic ones:

“Like any free-agent signing, whether it would be Erik or anybody,
they’d have to take a physical before so we could try to get a sense,”
MacPhail said. “I think our guys feel like, based on medical stuff
they’ve seen so far, it’s sooner as opposed to later.”

Of course, MacPhail traded Bedard to the Mariners in February of
2008 for Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Kam Mickolio and
Tony Butler. Yikes, after the Orioles swapped Sherrill for third base
prospect Josh Bell last July, this trade just keeps looking worse for
Seattle. We’re talking the potential for historically bad. Long live
Bill Bavasi!

Speaking of oft-injured pitchers, MacPhail requested the medical
records for free agent right-hander Ben Sheets, but never received
them. That’s probably a sign that he won’t pitch for them.

Watch: Javier Baez snares a 106-MPH ground ball

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What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.

Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.

Dodgers activate Adrian Gonzalez

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The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.