Erik Bedard was one of the Pirates biggest additions this offseason. However, you can’t read an article that has his name in it that doesn’t quickly talk about how often he gets injured.
But guess what? This year is different. I’ll be the first to say it. Here’s a quote from Bedard:
“For the first time in a long time, I didn’t have to spend the offseason rehabbing [from an operation]. So, arm-wise, I’m way ahead of where I’ve lately been at this point. I started throwing in December, like I used to [before the injuries]. After the surgeries, I wouldn’t be throwing until mid-January.”
Most of the time player quotes don’t mean anything. I wrote extensively about that earlier this morning. But this is a different kind of player quote. That’s a factual statement above. He started throwing a whole month and a half earlier than he had been in past years, you think that’s not going to make a difference on his arm strength and stamina? That is huge.
Bedard is a very good pitcher. He just hasn’t been healthy in a long time. Some injuries take a long time to go away; just because a pitcher comes back and pitches in a game doesn’t mean he’s back to 100%. Two years ago Bedard missed the whole season after shoulder surgery. That is long gone now. Last year’s injury issues were with his knee, which certainly isn’t great but you’ll take that over a shoulder injury most times, right?
The quote says it all, this is a different kind of season for Bedard. For once he can focus on pitching and not just staying healthy. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll be more confident coming into this year, and I think Pittsburgh is a perfect fit for a guy that hates attention as Bedard does. There’s not nearly as much pressure in the Steel City as other places, and I think Bedard can thrive here.
I’ve been working really hard to become perfect and never be wrong about anything, but I haven’t quite gotten there yet, so don’t yell at me if Bedard’s on the DL come June.