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.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.