Erik Bedard declared himself fine after he threw for 12 minutes in the bullpen yesterday in Peoria, Ariz., his first work off a mound in front of Seattle Mariners eyes since having season-ending surgery on his throwing shoulder in September.
Bedard didn't start after July 4 in a disappointing season after the Mariners traded five top prospects to the Orioles for a pitcher they thought would be their ace in 2008.
How curious were the Mariners to see Bedard throw yesterday? New general manager Jack Zduriencik, assistant GM Lee Pelekoudas, first-time manager Don Wakamatsu, trainer Rick Griffin and new pitching coach Rick Adair watched from a few feet away as the left-hander threw smoothly.
"I wasn't even thinking about that," Bedard said of trying to make a strong first impression while throwing about 35 pitches.
On Sept. 26, after Bedard went 6-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 15 starts, Dr. Lewis Yocum removed a cyst from Bedard's pitching shoulder and cut away some tissue. Recovery time from that procedure typically is six months, but Bedard is one month ahead of that.
He began throwing the second week of December. By Jan. 1, Bedard said, the scar tissue had loosened and he has felt pain-free since. He said his shoulder troubles are out of his mind.
"It was normal because I've been throwing [bullpen sessions] at home. So I knew how it felt," Bedard said of yesterday's workout.
Roberts was co-author of the Feb. 7 article on SI's Web site that reported he was on a list of 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during baseball's anonymous 2003 survey. Rodriguez told ESPN two days later that he had used banned substances from 2001 to 2003 while playing for the Rangers.
"I know this lady from Sports Illustrated, Selena Roberts, is trying to throw things out there that in high school I tried steroids. I mean, that's the biggest bunch of baloney I've ever heard in my life," he told ESPN, adding that "this lady is coming out with all these allegations, all these lies."
Roberts said yesterday that Rodriguez called her Wednesday. She didn't want to comment on the call until Rodriguez holds a news conference after arriving at spring training tomorrow.
Also, manager Joe Girardi plans to attend Rodriguez's news conference to show his support.
Red Sox: : Right fielder J.D. Drew is still bothered by back stiffness from a herniated disc that limited him to 109 games in 2008.
Drew, 33, said he had a magnetic resonance imaging after the season and the exam didn't show any serious damage. He said he fought the injury all offseason but it continues to linger.
Ivan Rodriguez: : The catcher, a 14-time All-Star, told the Associated Press that he might sign with the Marlins, Astros or Mets.
Mauer, who won his second batting title last season, had surgery Dec. 22 to remove a blockage from one of his kidneys.
Indians: : Free-agent infielder Tony Graffanino agreed to a minor league contract and will report to training camp today.
Phillies: : Utility man Miguel Cairo signed a minor league contract and will get a chance to earn a roster spot in spring training.