- On a pitch count of 80-85, Erik Bedard played to his critics by lasting 4.1 innings. This was not Bedard at his best, as his location started to fade as the innings wore on. Still, we shouldn't expect him to be at his best. This is called a rehab start for a reason. And of the 19 batters Bedard faced, none of them hit the ball very hard. He was done in by some walks and a couple infield singles. A minor league lineup generated minor league results.
As far as his stuff was concerned, he was hitting 90 on the Cheney radar gun, and after reports of his hitting 92-93 in earlier rehab starts, I don't think there are any questions about his velocity. His curve had the familiar big, sweeping break to it, which I never doubted but was pleased to see with my own eyes for the first time in like a calendar year. Can't tell you much about his cutter or change; I saw some of the latter, but not enough to say anything.
The velocity was fine. The movement was fine. The location left something to be desired, as he'd seemingly alternate between hitting the glove and missing by a foot. He missed so bad on one fastball that instead of putting it low and away, he threw it up and in right past Adam Moore and off home plate umpire Brian Larson's facemask. Erik Bedard's fastball hit a guy in the face. That's awesome.
His fastball got hit in the air. Most of the contact on his curve stayed on the ground. Both pitches missed bats, albeit not many. All in all, he looked ready to come up, but I'm begging you to be reasonable about your expectations. Most likely, it's going to take a little while before Bedard settles into a groove, if he gets there at all. Please be patient. He might be instantly awesome, but I wouldn't count on it. He had some major medical issues.
- I'm really not a big fan of Bedard's chinstrap beard. Bedard, I imagine, couldn't give two shits what I think about his appearance. I'm glad that's settled.
- One little thing that stood out - in the fourth inning, some guy named Chris Stewart hit a swinging bunt up the third base line. Bedard hurried over to field it, but didn't turn around. He ate it, because he knew he didn't have a play and didn't want to risk a senseless error. How many times have we seen Felix force that throw? I hate it when pitchers force that throw. It's a throw that fans and announcers usually love - "he's competitive, he's just trying to make a play" - but it's so risky that it's good to see a guy stay composed and think better of it.
- Somewhere along the line I forgot about Bedard's rather deliberate tempo. For those of you looking forward to having him replace Cliff Lee, he's not going to replace Cliff Lee. The experiences of watching them are completely different. When Lee has success, it looks like everything comes naturally to him. When Bedard has success, he looks methodical. When Lee struggles, it's like he always thinks the next pitch will get him out of it. When Bedard struggles, it's like he wants very, very badly for the next pitch to get him out of it.
Erik Bedard pitches like a thinking man. I don't want to make the comparison to Miguel Batista, because people wouldn't respond to that one very well, but he's never in a hurry to walk off the mound.
- I have as much confidence in Matt Tuiasosopo to field a grounder as I have in a soccer goalie to stop a penalty kick. I'm just waiting for Tui to guess early and dive the wrong way.
- Greg Halman and Jose Lopez drew unintentional walks on the same day. Halman also hit his 15th homer of the season, and is now pairing a BA of .237 with a .559 slugging percentage. He doesn't turn 23 for two months. I don't want to sound like I'm all aboard the Halman train, but it's amazing how much damage 2009 seemed to do to his status as a prospect. He's having a big year, and he has the same tools as always.
- Ladies tell me that Jack Hannahan is attractive, but I don't think he looks right in a baseball uniform. I do, however, think he'd look great in an old timey baseball uniform. Get that man into some stockings and baggy knee-breeches.
- Jeff Heaverlo joined Mike Curto on the broadcast tonight. Heaverlo was always my favorite of that group of pitching prospects we used to have. I don't remember why, exactly, but I do remember being all kinds of bummed when it dawned on me he'd never make it. As a 23 year old in AA San Antonio, he struck out 173 batters and walked 40 in 178.2 innings. Jeff Heaverlo could've been big.