Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pitcher Erik Bedard's Status? Vexing

erik bedard injurySeattle Mariners superstar southpaw Erik Bedard -- the American League's 2008 Cy Young recipient-in-waiting -- is on the trainer's table again with a bum hip, doubtless receiving a wide variety examinations, radiological imaging studies and physical therapy modalities followed by a raft of anti-inflammatory injections, oral medications, potions, liniments and incantations.

The Mariners medical staff (along with a sizable representation of the Mariners Nation) likely would take a dead cat to a graveyard at midnight under a full moon and swing it three times if they thought it would do any good. Heck, manager John McLaren would probably sacrifice a virgin if he could find one.

What's most troubling is that Bedard (1-0, 3.27) has had his left hip chirp at him before, and it may very well be that it is worse than the team describes it. Certain things do not add up.

Remember the report that the injury was holding up the trade with Baltimore? Yet McLaren says the injury occurred when Bedard was "throwing in the outfield." Then Bedard was quoted as saying he woke up with the problem. Well, which is it? And why was he throwing on flat ground in the outfield?

Some fans may be reassured because Bedard's problem is in his hip and not his shoulder or elbow. But it would be foolish to think his lower extremities are unimportant.

Look at the action photo of Bedard. Yes, he knows how to pitch, and he has a lightening bolt coming from his shoulder joint. But look at his left leg! His power is largely generated from his legs. All hard throwers will tell you the secret to their heat is in the legs.

Now, is it possible that his is a new, true-true-and-unrelated injury related to casual throwing in the outfield? Possible -- but doubtful.

There is some loose talk about that Bedard is suffering from an "impingement" syndrome of the hip. What's that? Perhaps he has ileotibial band syndrome or simple trochanteric bursitis -- not dissimilar from what Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado was complaining about a few weeks ago. If Bedard is feeling a snap or a click, it may not be the hip joint at all, but inflammation of the musculoskeletal structures about the hip joint.

Regardless -- all the miracles of modern sports medicine notwithstanding -- Bedard is just going to have to rest, and with that, his arm will unavoidably wither.

Bedard can perform physical therapy, lift weights or participate in long toss, but to be a sharp pitcher, on his game, he has to pitch. He is just going to have to take a break. He'll be back, but it's a good bet he won't get 20 starts this year. Bye, bye, Cy Young. See you in 2009.