Bedard confident in own philosophy
Ace says hiding emotions, not watching film works for him
There are volumes of statistics and video of every Major League batter at his beck and call, but Mariners left-hander Erik Bedard prefers to pitch the old-fashioned way -- on his own.He says he doesn't watch film or pay much attention to the scouting report. "That's the way I have always done it. I pitch my game," the new Seattle ace said. "When I do badly, people say, 'It's the wrong thing to do and he should do those things,' but it has worked for me." The philosophy Bedard used during his nine-year career with the Orioles moves to Seattle on Monday afternoon when he makes his regular-season debut against the Rangers at a packed Safeco Field on Opening Day. He'll be opposed in the 3:40 p.m. PT game by Rangers right-hander Kevin Millwood. The Mariners traded five players to the Orioles for Bedard a couple of months ago, believing he could be the ring-leader in a rotation that looks terrific -- on paper -- from top to bottom. The 29-year-old won nine of his final 10 decisions last season before being injured in August. He finished the season with a 13-5 record, 3.16 ERA and 221 strikeouts in 182 innings, and has a 40-34 record and 3.83 ERA in 114 Major League appearances -- all but three of them as a starter. His hits-to-innings pitched ratio -- 627-to-658 -- is outstanding. Manager John McLaren, who named Bedard as the Opening Day starter the day pitchers and catchers reported to camp, says the left-handed Bedard "doesn't have a problem with righties or lefties." "He's got a strikeout pitch for both hitters -- that wicked curveball," McLaren said. "It doesn't make a difference if you're right or left. He changes locations, it breaks late, hard and down. He has a feel for pitching, doesn't nibble, goes right after the hitters and is a good competitor. He has no fear."
He's a quiet competitor.In fact, a church mouse is a rabble-rouser compared to Bedard. It's virtually impossible to tell whether he's having a good day or a bad day. "I hide my emotions," he said. "I've always been that way. Some people like it, especially pitching coaches, and some people don't. I get excited before I pitch every game, whether it's Opening Day, or any other day. "You guys [media] make a big deal out of Opening Day, but it's just one day in the season. It's no different than any other game. At least that's the way I look at it." This will be Bedard's second straight Opening Day assignment. He received considerable offensive support last season when the Orioles beat the Rays, 16-6, in the opener at Camden Yards. It was the first of his four straight victories coming out of the gate. The Mariners would gladly take a similar start this season.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.