Mariners sign Erik Bedard to a one-year, $1.5 million deal
The pitcher is expected to miss the start of the season while rehabilitating after shoulder surgery, but his agent says he could be back in April or May.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Mariners announced Erik Bedard's signing Saturday with visions of the rehabilitating left-hander being healthy enough to help them in 2010.
"We think Erik is an important piece for us to add," general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a news release. "We're confident he'll be ready to pitch major-league games this season.
"We've carefully monitored his recovery from surgery and his rehabilitation process and are confident he'll be a contributor to our 2010 campaign. We are looking forward to him returning and being a part of this organization as we move forward."
Bedard passed his physical in Seattle on Friday, finalizing the one-year deal that includes a mutual option for 2011. He'll earn a base salary of $1.5 million in 2010, with incentives that can bring the total to about $8.5 million. Bedard earned $7.5 million in 2009.
The 2011 option starts at $8 million, with escalator clauses based on his 2010 performance.
"My first choice was to return to Seattle, so I'm very happy to get this done," Bedard said in a release. "I like the moves the team made this winter, and I'm looking forward to when I can get back on the mound and help them this year."
To make room on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Yusmeiro Petit was designated for assignment. The M's have 10 days to trade, release or outright Petit, who was obtained from the Diamondbacks via a waiver claim Nov. 4.
Bedard had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder on Aug. 14, and Mariners trainer Rick Griffin last week characterized the recovery time as a 10- to 12-month process. But Mark Pieper, Bedard's agent, said Saturday that Dr. Lewis Yocum, who performed the operation, gave them a more optimistic timetable.
"He told us eight to nine months, which puts you in April or May," he said. "I do understand that there are reports all over the board. In fairness to other doctors, we're going off Dr. Yocum. He's the surgeon, he's well respected, he's the one that knows Erik best."
Pieper added that Bedard is encouraged by how he has felt in workouts at his Navan, Ontario, home.
"The way Erik feels is consistent with being able to come back at that time," Pieper said. "We don't want to over-promise. We're going off the information we have, and that's kind of the date we're shooting for. If he comes back in the middle of May, boy, that would be outstanding."
Pieper believes the signing is a win-win for his client and the Mariners.
"It's the deal that made the most sense," he said. "It's the place Erik wanted to go. He got a lot of calls, a lot of interest.
"For me, personally, all the moves the Mariners made, it made all the more sense to add Erik at the end. They've got a great rotation led by Felix (Hernandez) and Cliff Lee, and a team that can make the playoffs. If Erik is healthy like we hope, with those three, they would be a tough team to beat in the playoffs."
The M's acquired Bedard from the Orioles for five players before the 2008 season, but he has struggled with health issues and had both seasons end with shoulder surgeries.
"Unfortunately, because he's been injured, Erik hasn't had a chance to pitch in many meaningful games, and that's very intriguing to him," Pieper said.
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or email@example.com
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