Give Erik Bedard credit. Even with the knowledge that he had a torn labrum and a cyst in his left shoulder after learning of the damage from an MRI in July, the left-hander tried his hardest to rehab the injury and return to pitch for the team that had invested so much in him during the offseason. Unfortunately, the program of throwing and strengthening the shoulder didn't have the desired effect. Bedard said the pain never really went away, stating that the damaged shoulder "got better, but it never got good."
With rehabilitation failing to work out, the Mariners will move on to their last course of action. Bedard is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair his damaged left shoulder on September 26 and is likely to miss at least a portion of the 2009 season while rehabbing.
Bedard made 15 starts this season before the shoulder pain got to be too much, going 6-4 with a 3.67 ERA and 72-to-37 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 81 innings. He made his last start on July 4, a game in which he held the Tigers to one run over five innings while picking up a win. He'd be somewhat lucky to be taking the mound again before July 4 of next year.
The best-case scenario would have Bedard starting to throw late in spring training next year; the worst case scenario would have him never throwing another pitch in a major-league game. Labrum surgery is perhaps the most difficult procedure for a pitcher to return from. Of course, Bedard is already familiar with the process of rehabbing from major arm surgeries, as he lost his entire 2003 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
From the efforts that he put forth to battle through pain and rehab his shoulder this year, I get the impression that he truly desired to avoid surgery if at all possible. The rehab process is long and arduous, as Bedard is no doubt aware as a Tommy John survivor. Bedard will turn 30 next March and will have already gone through two of the most drastic arm surgeries a pitcher can receive. To say his future status is in doubt at this point would be a pretty large understatement.
Since the Mariners would probably have to offer Bedard at least $6 million in arbitration to keep him next year, it's quite possible that they will simply non-tender him and let him sign elsewhere. As Dave Cameron from the U.S.S. Mariner blog notes, this trade couldn't have worked out worse for Seattle:
"80 meaningless innings in the worst season ever - that's potentially Bedard's entire Mariner career. No trading him for some prospects to try to recoup the losses. No draft picks when he leaves as a free agent. Just labrum surgery and a potential release, while the M's try to rebuild without the core of their farm system, now enjoying success in Baltimore."
Not a fun time to be a Mariner fan. Now let's move on to a few notes from the rest of the league...
* Ben Sheets lasted only two innings in his start against the Cubs on Wednesday night, and admitted after the game that he's been dealing with soreness in his elbow over his past several starts. It was also revealed Thursday that Sheets' early removal from a September 1 start against the Mets had more to do with the ailing elbow than a groin issue, as the team had initially reported. An MRI on the elbow reportedly revealed no structural damage, but still the pain is cropping up and impairing the right-hander's ability to compete. The Brewers may hold Sheets out of his last two regular-season starts in order to increase the chances that he'd be able to go in the playoffs, but doing so would of course jeopardize the team's chances of getting to October in the first place. If Sheets is held out of his next two starts, it's unclear whether a spot starter would be substituted or the team would go to a four-man rotation over their final slate of games.
Acting manager Dale Sveum is facing no easy decisions here as he tries to guide the Brewers down the stretch.
* Evan Longoria ripped three homers in a losing effort against the Twins on Thursday night. He has now amassed 25 home runs and 78 RBI in what is sure to be a Rookie of the Year season. He's only 22, and he's got a wonderful future ahead of him.
AL Quick Hits: Shaun Marcum is probably done for the year due to an injury suffered on Tuesday night ... Justin Duchscherer's season is probably over after he cut short a simulated game after 10 pitches on Thursday ... Howie Kendrick's status for the playoffs is in doubt, and he may be replaced at second by Chone Figgins ... Francisco Rodriguez earned his 59th save on Thursday ... Jeremy Guthrie is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday and hopes to start one of Baltimore?Ts two contests on Tuesday ... An MRI on Anthony Reyes' injured elbow revealed no significant problems, but he doesn't expect to pitch again this season ... Daniel Cabrera (elbow) won't pitch again this season ... Glen Perkins didn't escape the first inning against the Rays on Thursday night and his surrendered nine home runs in his past five starts.
NL Quick Hits: Cameron Maybin went 4-for-4 with a walk in his first start for the Marlins on Thursday ... Tim Lincecum will stay on four days' rest despite an off-day next week in order to get two more starts in this season ... Taylor Buchholz has been shut down for the season due to shoulder inflammation ... Steve Pearce was out of the Pittsburgh lineup Thursday for a fourth straight game ... Mat Gamel underwent tests yesterday on his sore right elbow ... Damion Easley (quadriceps) won't be available for even pinch-hitting duty for at least another week ... The Mets released Al Reyes on Thursday.