Bedard Wakes With Boner, Heads To DL

This hasn’t happened yet, as far as I know. But I figure if our favorite French-Canadian fireballer can get sidelined by stiffness in his shoulder, there are a handful of other stiffness-related ailments that could prevent Monsieur Bedard from taking the mound.

I don’t mean to make light of Erik Bedard’s situation — he is recovering from serious shoulder surgery, after all — but come on. You gotta come up with something better than “stiffness” to miss a start. I’m pretty sure the M’s front office has exhausted an entire thesaurus trying to find nice ways to describe the southpaw’s relative softness.

Remember a couple years ago when the guy was dealing with “impingement” in that same throwing shoulder? I just Googled “impingement synonyms” and here are a sampling of the words that associate themselves with this painful ailment: “kiss,” “thrusting,” “unlawful entry,” “whomp,” “ramming,” “rub.” So Bedard experienced a shoulder kiss. And went to the disabled list.

I don’t know, folks. As much as I want to believe Bedard, as much as I want him to succeed (and I do), and as much as I sincerely wish he’d turn himself into a bona fide ace, I just don’t see the boy who cried wolf ever becoming a fixture in a Mariners uniform. A fixture on the team’s training table, perhaps, but in a jersey? Not so much.

The Ontario native has lost all credibility with the fan base when it comes to injury. You can only excuse yourself from work so many times before it becomes a habit that ultimately ingrains itself in your reputation. We’ve all worked alongside individuals who call in sick with extreme frequency. After they’ve stayed home for the fourth or fifth time in a month, we become a little skeptical of their reported illnesses. And when they really are sick? By that time, our collective ability to sympathize has long been destroyed.

That’s kind of where we’re at with Bedard. He might really be in pain. But even if he is, our patience for this sort of behavior has worn thin.

We’re more accustomed to watching ballplayers tough it out. Growing up in this country, toughness is preached to young athletes. We’ve grown up understanding how to be tough. When I was 14 years old, I was taught the wrong way how to throw a curveball. I pitched an entire season of games with a dead arm and never returned to full strength until I was 16. I didn’t tell anyone until now. It was just something I learned to deal with. And that’s what we expect from our professionals.

Sure, we all have our breaking points. But it seems like Bedard breaks easier than a paper-thin hymen. And yet we’re paying this guy to use the organization’s medical insurance. Like getting free health coverage plus a million bucks on top of that. Must be nice.

Will Bedard ever become the pitcher we know he can be? Who knows for sure. All I know is that my back is stiff, my shoulders are stiff, my knees are stiff, my whole body is stiff and I’m still going to work this morning. I’ll probably play basketball today, too. And I’m not making a fraction of the money that Bedard is. I don’t know. It just doesn’t seem right.

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