Erik Bedard hasn’t pitched since July of 2009, but the oft-injured left-hander threw his first bullpen session of the year yesterday and reported no problems.
Of course, as catcher Josh Bard told Greg Johns of MLB.com afterward: “He’s definitely not letting it rip, but nobody that is smart is at this point.”
Bedard earned $1.75 million last season without throwing an inning for the Mariners, but this time around his incentive-laden one-year, $1 million contract is non-guaranteed. He has to win a spot on the pitching staff coming out of spring training to get anything and then has to stay healthy to collect up to $6 million in bonuses.
New manager Eric Wedge told Johns that “we’re all rooting for him” and expressed some optimism about Bedard throwing “free and easy” in his first session, which lasted about 10 minutes. There’s plenty of room for him in the Mariners’ rotation, but Bedard hasn’t been healthy and effective since 2007 and will be 32 years old next month.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.
Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.
Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.
A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.
The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.
As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.