Turns out a couple of starts was actually a couple of months, but what's a few weeks among friends, right?
After a long absence with a sore knee, Erik Bedard appears ready to return from the disabled list, maybe just in time to save the O's from their summer slide. The left-hander, who went 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA before his injury, is scheduled to start Monday in Minnesota.
Bedard isn't likely to keep up with his early pace, and a limited pitch count will prevent him from piling up wins as he works himself back into shape. He threw 70 pitches in a rehab start on Tuesday at Single-A Delmarva and probably won't throw more than 85 or 90 on Monday.
But Bedard put up impressive numbers in Tuesday's outing 5 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 9 Ks with a fastball that topped out at 97 so you'll want to activate him immediately for next week's starts against the slumping Twins and light-hitting Devil Rays.
And now a look around the rest of the majors:
- Jason Giambi, Yankees: It's alive! After homering just once in a 31-game stretch, Giambi wrapped up the first half with five HRs in eight games. Shades of 2000.
- Todd Helton, Rockies: Slumping first baseman finally got it going just before the break where have we heard that before? He's a career .347 hitter in the second half, but impending trade of Preston Wilson won't do him much good.
- Travis Hafner, Indians: Leading the Indians charge with eight homers, 28 RBIs in his past 17 games. Guess that change of hitting coaches is working out OK then.
- Michael Young, Rangers: Batted .389 in June and is off to fine start in July with three HRs, .400 average in nine games. No wonder Derek Jeter wasn't an All-Star.
- Corey Lidle, Phillies: String of soft-hitting opponents have helped Lidle post a 2.18 ERA and three wins in his past six starts. Given his history of inconsistency, the fall can't be far off.
- Barry Bonds, Giants: There are target return dates, and there are realistic return dates. Teammate J.T. Snow says he doesn't think Bonds will play this season. Sounds pretty realistic to me.
- Mark Prior, Cubs: Prior was brilliant in his first start after coming off the DL, not so good in his next two. He needs to get his arm strength back before consistent results and wins can be expected.
- Kenny Rogers, Rangers: Sorry doesn't matter in roto, not when it's followed by a 20-game suspension. Good thing that ugly All-Star stat line didn't count.
- Luis Gonzalez, Diamondbacks: A deserving All-Star, though a couple of solo HRs have accounted for his only RBIs and extra base hits in his past 13 games. Batting .143 in that span.
- Junior Spivey, Nationals: Has a broken wrist to prove that batting practice can be hazardous. Injury plus Jose Vidro's return mean Spivey likely won't have any value for the rest of 2005.
This weekend's matchups
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