Bedard impresses in rehab start with Delmarva

He strikes out 9, walks 1, pitching 5 shutout innings

July 13, 2005|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

SALISBURY - Erik Bedard is healthy again, but even he knows his body's limitations.

So when the scoreboard at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium - the home of the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds - flashed Bedard's fastball as topping speeds of 96 and 97 mph in a game against the Lexington Legends last night, the 26-year-old left-hander quickly downplayed the numbers.

"Nah, that's not right," he said. "That's what I saw in the first inning, and I was like, `Wow, I feel pretty good today.'"

Sarcasm aside, Bedard was impressive in his second rehabilitation start since the Orioles placed him on the disabled list May 26 with a strained medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

Against an overmatched Legends team that lost to the Shorebirds, 7-1, Bedard threw 70 pitches, struck out nine and gave up just three singles and one walk in five scoreless innings.

Seven Lexington batters struck out swinging, and only two advanced into scoring position. One was left stranded at second base, while the other was thrown out attempting to steal home.

"I felt great," said Bedard, who earned a standing ovation from many of the 4,009 fans in attendance. "No pain. ... Everything went well. The mechanics were in sync. I threw strikes and pretty much did what I expected to do."

Bedard estimated that he has reclaimed 90 percent of the form that helped him to a 5-1 record with a 2.08 ERA in 60 2/3 innings before the injury.

"The control is pretty good," he said. "The breaking ball is kind of flat sometimes. But a couple more starts, and I'll be back."

Bedard said his biggest worry is stamina. He acknowledged that five innings of work in the humid air drained him.

"I was tired at the end," he said. "That's pretty much the only concern."

Bedard, who struck out four and surrendered two runs in two innings for Double-A Bowie last Wednesday, is scheduled to start for the Orioles on Monday against the Minnesota Twins.

Bedard's return could re-energize an Orioles club that has slipped from the top of the American League East standings and is in need of pitching strength.

"It's definitely hard when we were doing good when I was there," he said of watching the Orioles from the stands. "It was unfortunate that I got hurt. ... We're just going to battle in the second half and beat everybody."

Despite the layoff, Bedard hasn't lost his humility. When a reporter asked Bedard if the team will be happy to welcome back its ace, Bedard scoffed at the question.

"No. 1? Yeah, whatever," he said. "I'm just going to go out there and do what I can and try to help the team."

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