Mariners wondering what’s wrong with ace lefty Erik Bedard after another rough outing
Bedard was knocked around for the third straight start, giving up seven runs and nine hits in five innings during Seattle’s 8-3 loss to Kansas City on Friday.
Obtained in a trade with Baltimore for top prospect Adam Jones, left-handed reliever George Sherrill and three minor leaguers, Bedard was chosen Seattle’s opening day pitcher on the first day of spring training. He later signed a $7 million, one-year deal with the team and avoided arbitration.
The results on the field, however, have been lacking.
“I felt good,” Bedard said. “I just gave up a lot of runs.”
He gave up a two-run home run to Kansas City’s Alex Gordon in the first inning, allowed a solo run in the second, then was tagged for another two-run homer in the third by former Mariner Jose Guillen.
Bedard, who gave up 19 homers in 182 innings for Baltimore in 2007, has given up seven home runs in his last three exhibition starts. He’s also allowed 19 earned runs, by far the most among Seattle’s starters this spring.
After the game Bedard—whose ERA dipped to 9.50 following his outing against Kansas City—was at a loss for why he’s struggling.
“I have no idea,” he said. “They’re hitting it out of the ballpark. It’s only going to concern me if it happens during the season.”
Mariners manager John McLaren believes the weather in Arizona has affected Bedard’s grip, which has led to the high number of home runs.
“I would think that had a lot to do with it,” McLaren said. “He’s a veteran pitcher. He knows what he’s got to do.”
Guillen, who homered on an 0-1 change-up in the third, says too much is being made of Bedard’s numbers.
“It’s like I heard some people worrying about Ichiro (Suzuki) when he went 0-for-21. Come on, this is spring training,” Guillen said. “Those guys know how to figure it out when it counts for real. I’m not worried about him. Everybody knows he’s going to get the job done and he’s going to be able to figure out his pitches.”
Guillen spent one season with the Mariners before signing a $36 million, three-year contract with Kansas City in the offseason. He could miss the first 15 days of the regular season after being suspended for violating the league’s drug policy.
The home run off Bedard was Guillen’s first of the spring and came in only his second game back after being sidelined for a week with the flu.
“It doesn’t mean anything,” Guillen said. “I’m just trying to get the timing ready. It’s coming around. Hopefully it will take me a few more games and I’ll be ready to go. I know what I need to do to get ready for the season.”
Royals starter Gil Meche, another former Mariner, allowed two runs and six hits over 6 2-3 innings for the win. He gave up an RBI single to Wladimir Balentien in the second and an RBI double to Mike Morse in the seventh before being replaced by reliever Ron Mahay.
“Gil did a good job,” Kansas City manager Trey Hillman said. “He controlled the ball, threw all his pitches for strikes, worked ahead in the count. Pretty much everything you want to see.”
Morse went 2-for-4 to raise his spring average to .523. … 3B Adrian Beltre went 0-for-3 and snapped a nine-game hitting streak. … Royals RHP Joakim Soria, the team’s closer in 2007, struggled in the ninth when he gave up two hits and walked a batter. He allowed one run and needed a double play to end the game.