Persistent knee pain delays Bedard's return


Still feeling discomfort in his left knee, starting pitcher Erik Bedard may still be a month away from returning to the Orioles' rotation.

Bedard, who had established himself as the Orioles' ace before landing on the 15-day disabled list May 26 with a strained medial collateral ligament, estimated that he probably won't throw off the mound for an additional two weeks.

Orioles executive vice president for baseball operations Jim Beattie said that once Bedard returns to throwing off the mound, he'll need two more weeks - including likely two rehabilitation starts - before rejoining the rotation.

"It's progressively healing, but slowly," said Bedard, who is 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA. "There's no point pitching while it still hurts. I'd rather wait until it heals."

Beattie and Orioles trainer Richie Bancells said that it is up to Bedard, who has been rehabilitating and throwing off the flat ground to keep his arm in shape, to inform the club when he is ready to begin pitching again from the mound.

"You have to wait until the player gives you an indication that the pain is gone and he's comfortable going out there again," Beattie said. "When he tells us that he's ready to get back on the mound, he'll get back on the mound. And from that point, it's going to be about two weeks before he's back here pitching."

The Orioles were originally hoping that Bedard would miss only two or three starts, but the 26-year-old who has already missed four starts with rookie Hayden Penn taking his spot said that he expected all along to be out six weeks.

"There's a lot of people who have had this [injury] and been out six weeks," Bedard said.

Added Bancells: "For me, the injury is taking its normal course."

In other injury news, catcher Javy Lopez, who hasn't played since May 24 because of a broken right hand, had a positive checkup from team doctors and will begin strengthening exercises.

Bancells said that Lopez, who was supposed to be out eight weeks, is "a little bit" ahead of schedule.

NOTES: With Luis Matos now on a rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie and possibly set to return to the club later this week, the Orioles will have to make a corresponding roster move and outfielder David Newhan (hitting .202) may be the likely candidate to be sent down because he has a minor league option remaining. ... Hockey great Wayne Gretzky, his wife, actress Janet Jones, former major leaguer Robin Ventura and former manager Tom Lasorda were at Camden Yards yesterday to help promote prostate cancer awareness. ... With his second-inning single on Monday, Miguel Tejada became the first American League Player to reach 1,000 hits since the start of the 2000 season.

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