Seattle Mariners

It's official: Bedard is back

Seattle - Erik Bedard had an almost perfect day Saturday; signing a one-year contract with the Seattle Mariners that included a mutual option for 2011, playing long toss in an empty Safeco Field - and slipping through a Starbucks unrecognized.

“I think that’s Erik’s personality,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “He doesn’t like a lot of attention. He’d just as soon go about his business with no one paying him any mind.”

Bedard didn’t disagree.

“Nobody recognized me at Starbucks here. No one ever does. It’s great,” Bedard said.

After Bedard passed Friday’s physical, general manager Jack Zduriencik wasted no time announcing the deal – having a release sent out about 8 a.m. Saturday. It was hardly a surprise, having been the subject of much speculation all week.

Bedard was delighted the contract, which will pay a base salary of $1.5 million with incentives worth another $6 million, came with that mutual option for 2011.

“The second year is like this one, for a base salary and incentives,” Bedard said. “But it means if I pitch well and stay healthy, I’ll be here the next two seasons.”

The key to his passing the physical was a strength test on his surgically repaired left shoulder.

“Once I passed that, I pretty much knew I was good,” Bedard said. “I’ve been throwing for three weeks, I threw today for 10 minutes from about 75 feet. Man, the sun was out – it’s a great day here!”

Coming off two seasons when shoulder injuries kept him off the mound much of the time, Bedard has a 51-41 career record in 141 starts and is 11-7 with a 3.24 ERA with the Mariners.

“I know most people don’t think they got much from me the first two years,” Bedard said. “It wasn’t what they wanted and it wasn’t what I wanted. I’ve pitched pretty well when I’ve been healthy.”

Wakamatsu said Bedard won’t pitch until he’s ready, and there will be no pushing him. When healthy, however, Bedard will join a rotation topped by Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee.

“What you saw last year was special when he was out there,” Wakamatsu said. “This is a guy hitters don’t like to face. Erik bought into this team, believed in where we’re going and wanted to be part of it.

“When we get him back, our rotation will be that much deeper.”