Bedard set to throw off mound in 2 weeks

Left-hander gets OK seven months after ligament transplant

Minor league notebook

Baseball

April 28, 2003|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Left-hander Erik Bedard, regarded as the Orioles' top prospect, has been cleared to throw off a mound in about two weeks as the latest step in his recovery from ligament-transplant surgery.

Bedard visited the clubhouse at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday after driving from the minor league complex in Sarasota, Fla. He relaxed on a sofa and watched television, a soda clutched in his right hand and an ice pack wrapped around his left elbow.

His work these days consists of long-tossing from 150 feet and sets of throws that begin at shorter distances before reaching the same distance. He'll stand atop a mound for the first time since his surgery seven months ago "if everything goes well and there are no setbacks."

The Orioles have no plans to let Bedard pitch until the fall instructional league. They were just as cautious with Matt Riley after his surgery in 2000.

"It's been awesome. He's coming right along," said Darrell "Doc" Rodgers, the Orioles' director of minor league operations. "This is a process and it takes time, but we're very excited."

Bedard has lots of company in Sarasota. Shortstop Ed Rogers remains at the complex because of a lower-back strain, the same ailment that forced left-hander Richard Stahl to head south rather than join Single-A Delmarva.

Rogers underwent a magnetic resonance imaging test, which eased the Orioles' concerns. He'll head to Double-A Bowie in a week.

"It was only muscle," Rodgers said.

Stahl, the 18th overall pick in the 1999 draft, felt a twinge toward the end of spring training, but he should be in Delmarva within 10 days. In 2000, he didn't pitch after July because of a sore lower back, and Rodgers said the Orioles are being "overly cautious."

"But that's the way it should be," he added.

Stahl had surgery on his left shoulder in 2001, but Rodgers said only the back has flared up. He'll continue throwing two innings, then resting two days, before the Orioles test him with back-to-back sessions. At Delmarva, he'll pitch in relief until building up more arm strength.

Another former first-round draft pick, outfielder Keith Reed, was redirected to Sarasota, but not for health reasons. Rodgers said Reed was removed from Double-A Bowie's roster so he could attend to "personal business." Another club official indicated that Reed was being disciplined.

"Now he's back in a spring training mode," Rodgers said, adding that Reed could rejoin the Baysox within 10 days.

Triple-A Ottawa

The Lynx had lost seven of 10 games before yesterday. They were leading Rochester, 8-6, in the sixth Saturday before left-hander Mike Mohler gave up three runs and five hits in the inning. Darnell McDonald had three hits and two RBIs. ... Catcher Robert Machado was activated from the disabled list and joined the Lynx. He brings major league experience. ... Infielder Chris Lemonis, who spent one month in the Pittsburgh Pirates' system last year before being released May 13, was promoted from Double-A Bowie. ... Ottawa was leading Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 7-6, in the ninth inning Friday before losing. Mike Garcia blew the save try. ... Jack Cust homered Friday, and Carlos Mendez had two doubles. Mendez is playing first base. He also can catch. ... Garcia picked up his fifth save Thursday, when he closed out a 4-1 win. ... Travis Driskill limited Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to one run over six innings to record his first victory.

Double-A Bowie

Mike Munter, 37, was named interim general manager. He replaces Jon Danos, who left to pursue other opportunities. ... It took 40 games for the Baysox to achieve their 11th victory last season. This year, they improved to 11-6 on Wednesday. ... Shortstop Manny Del Rosario arrived from extended spring training. He played at three levels of the farm system last year, finishing at short-season Aberdeen. He appeared in seven games with the Baysox in 2001, his only previous Double-A experience. ... Former Orioles No. 1 pick Mike Paradis (2-0) threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out six, in the opener of Saturday's doubleheader against Erie. The Baysox are 4-0 in his starts this year. ... Doug Gredvig left Game 1 in the third inning with a pulled stomach muscle. ... Mike Fontenot hit his first homer Saturday. He began the season 1-for-25 but took an eight-game hitting streak into yesterday. ... Left-hander John Parrish allowed his first earned run Wednesday in a 6-5, 12-inning victory over Akron. ... Wednesday's outcome, which became official when Willis Otanez doubled to score Tim Raines Jr., left the Baysox 8-0 in one-run games and 4-0 in extra innings. ... Reliever Aaron Rakers improved to 3-0 with two scoreless innings during Tuesday's 3-2 win over Akron.

Single-A Frederick

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