11 p.m., March 18)
Impressive outing moves Bédard step closer to making
Navan native Erik Bédard is trying
to make the opening day roster of the Houston
Astros after signing a minor league contract
with the club in January. File photo
native Erik Bédard made his best case yet to make
the Houston Astros opening day roster when he fanned five
Blue Jays in three scoreless innings in Kissimee, Florida
only his second appearance since returning from a glut
injury, and only his third spring training appearance
this year, Bédard three 20 pitches, all of them
strikes in retiring nine of the 10 batters he faced.
Nickleas was the only Jays batter to hit safely when he
led off the eighth inning with a double. Bédard
got the next batter to pop out to first and then struckout
the next two hitters to get out of the inning and pick
up his first ever career save.
big lefthander is trying to make the Astros opening day
roster after signing a minor league contract with the
club in January. The Astros signed him on a flyer hoping
he might win the fourth spot in their rotation. They may
also be thinking about using him in relief, either as
a set up man or a closer.
he might fit in is unimportant to the 33-year-old Bédard
who is happy just to get the opportunity to extend his
major league career at least one more year.
in 1999 by the Baltimore Orioles, Bédard's career
has been marred by a series of injuries which have prevented
him from fulfilling the potential he demonstrated from
2006 to 2008 when he was one of the most overpowering
pitchers in the majors.
2007, Bédard set an Orioles franchise record for
most strikeouts in a season with 221 and most strike outs
per nine innings at more than 10. After he ended the season
on the DL with a strained oblique muscle, the Orioles
dealt Bédard to the Seattle Mariners where injuries
limited him to just 15 appearances in each of 2008 and
problems forced him to miss the entire 2010 season. The
Mariners ended up dealing Bédard to the Boston
Red Sox on July 31, 2011 where he appeared in just eight
before being released in the off season.
spending more time on the DL than off, the Pittsburgh
Pirates decided to sign Bédard to a one-year contract
worth $4.5 million.
In his first injury free season in four years, Bédard
made 24 starts before bring released by the Pirates on
Aug. 21 for "performance related" reasons after
registering his 14th loss against the Milwaukee Brewers.
was left to ponder early retirement until the Astros came
calling on him in January.
earning an estimated $25 million in his first nine seasons,
Bédard is getting what in baseball is the minimum
wage for one last opportunity to play big league baseball.
For now, at least, it's looking more and more likely he'll
get his shot.
11 a.m., March 17)
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