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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, February 6, 2010

MLB: Bedard, Mariners reunite with 1-year deal

GREGG BELL,AP Sports Writer

SEATTLE Despite shoulder surgeries and disappointment in Seattle during each of the last two seasons, free-agent left-hander Erik Bedard is coming back to the Mariners.

General manager Jack Zduriencik announced Saturday the team and the oft-injured 30-year-old agreed to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2011.

The contract is expected to have a base salary a fraction of the $7.75 million Bedard made last season. It includes incentive clauses, the exact value of which were not immediately known.

He is rehabilitating with a physical therapist in his native Canada following surgery in August to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder. Last week, Mariners trainer Rick Griffin said the normal recovery time for the procedure is 10-12 months. That would have Bedard making his season debut in June at the earliest.

"He has a ways to go," said Griffin, who has been overseeing Bedard's rehabilitation from afar because the team had been financially responsible for it while he was a free agent.

Zduriencik thinks this latest, low-cost move that caps Seattle's splashy winter could pay off handsomely if Bedard can get and stay healthy.

"We think Erik is an important piece for us to add," Zduriencik said. "We're confident he'll be ready to pitch (in) 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."

After two disappointing seasons with Bedard, Seattle no longer needs him to be on top of the rotation. The Mariners traded for former Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee this winter to pair with Felix Hernandez, whom the team recently minted with a $78 million contract.

The Mariners declined to offer Bedard salary arbitration this winter after paying him $14.75 million for two seasons in which he won 11 games in 30 starts. Shoulder troubles kept him from pitching past July 4 in his first season with the team.

He had surgery in September 2008 to remove a cyst in his left shoulder. He was on the active roster for just 20 days past June 17 last season before his next surgery.

When he has pitched for the Mariners, he has rarely lasted deep into games.

Seattle's trade for him before the 2008 season cost the Mariners five top prospects, including eventual All-Stars in closer George Sherrill and outfielder Adam Jones. The failed deal helped doom then-general manager Bill Bavasi, who was fired before the 2008 season ended.

Bedard was 28-16 while averaging nearly 200 strikeouts per season for Baltimore in 2006 and '07. He was 6-4 with a 3.67 ERA with Seattle in 2008 before the shoulder woes.

If he can pitch again by the summer, Bedard would likely enter the rotation behind Hernandez, Lee and returning left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith. The Mariners also have right-hander Ian Snell, who has a salary of about $4.4 million for 2010.