PEORIA, Ariz. - Erik Bedard was so efficient Sunday he came up 18 pitches short of his goal, but threw such a clean five innings the Seattle Mariners didn't mind.
“You’re never disappointed with efficiency,” Bedard said after throwing 62 pitches. “I got a couple of double plays, they hit a few balls hard right at people. I’ll take a double play every inning.”
With two starts left in camp for him, Bedard is healthy, happy and showing the Mariners what they’d hoped to see, well, each of the past three seasons.
“I was healthy when I got here, then the first season started and I crumbled,” Bedard said. “It’s like I haven’t been right since.”
Bedard pitched five innings, allowed one run on a home run, walked one and struck out two. In 102/3 Cactus League innings, he’s allowed two runs.
It left him 2-0 this spring.
“He’s using all his pitches, throwing them all for strikes and controlling the game,” manager Eric Wedge said. “Erik is right where we hoped he’d be.”
“It’s a crazy game,” Bedard said. “I threw (Brad) Hawpe a 3-2 fastball down the middle and he hit it out. The next time he came up, I threw the same pitch, and he grounded into a double play.”
With all the recent cuts, there’s a vacant aisle in the clubhouse, and David Aardsma was using it Sunday morning to stretch – moving his surgically repaired hip on a roller, then a blue ball.
“I’m kind of numb to the pain by now,” said Aardsma, who had surgery in December. “But if you aren’t feeling it a little, you’re probably not doing it right.”
At that point, Felix Hernandez walked by and spotted that blue ball on the floor. Immediately, he booted it into an empty cubicle.
It bounced out – hard – and hit Aardsma on top of the head.
“Ayyyy!” yelled Felix, who bent to see what damage he might have inflicted.
“I’m fine,” Aardsma said.
Felix shrugged, smiled and moved on. Aardsma went back to work. Later, he threw in the outfield with catcher Miguel Olivo, stretching out his throws to about 115 feet.
Milton Bradley broke a tie with a two-run single and the Mariners’ bullpen – Jamey Wright, Josh Lueke and Brandon League – blanked San Diego the final four innings as Seattle won, 4-1. Bradley is batting .345 with nine RBI. League, pitching two days after a ninth-inning meltdown that included four walks, got his first save Sunday, although he walked one man in the ninth. ... The Mariners are 12-7-1 this spring, beating the Padres with eight hits – six of them singles. ... Wright may not have won a job yet, but he’s had a spectacular spring. Over seven appearances, eight innings of work, he has yet to allow a run and given up four hits. ... Olivo continues his rapid recovery from a groin strain. Expect him in a game late this week.
Seattle plays at Cincinnati in a 1:05 p.m. game. Probable starting pitchers: the Mariners’ Michael Pineda vs. Bronson Arroyo.