Wearing a cumbersome cast and brace a day after surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, Bedard said before Saturday night's game against the New York Yankees that he'd like to return to Seattle next season.
Arthroscopic surgery on Bedard's pitching shoulder Friday also cleaned up other fraying in the joint. Dr. Lewis Yocum, who performed the procedure in Los Angeles, estimates Bedard will be able to throw again in four to six months.
About to become a free agent, Bedard reiterated an interest in staying with Seattle.
"I still feel like that," he said.
Whether Seattle wants to pay for an injury plagued 30-year-old remains the question.
The Mariners are faced with offering Bedard salary arbitration, which could result in a contract near the $7.75 million he got this season, or letting him leave as a free agent.
Letting him leave after two seasons in which the former Baltimore Orioles ace was largely a bust may result in Seattle getting compensated with draft picks. That's assuming he qualifies statistically as a top-tier free agent after being hurt so often. He's been on the active roster for only 20 days since June 17 and didn't pitch after July 4 last season.
"I'm going to think about that when the offseason comes. I'm not going to think about next year now," Bedard said. "I'm going to think about getting better and getting strong."
Asked if the surgery makes it more likely that he'll come back to Seattle, likely because of reduced interest as a free agent, Bedard bristled.
"What do you think? Not a good question," he said.
Bedard got a $750,000 raise from Seattle after going 6-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 15 starts last season. He had surgery to remove a cyst and non-healthy tissue in his shoulder last September.
The Mariners have paid Bedard $14.75 million for two seasons in which he won 11 games in 30 starts. He has rarely lasted deep into games since he was acquired from Baltimore in February 2008 for five top prospects. Two of them — closer George Sherrill and outfielder Adam Jones — have become All-Stars.
Bedard is confident he can still be the pitcher who went 28-16 his final two seasons with the Orioles.
"I think anybody can come back from anything," Bedard said. "I'm going to do my best to come back and that's that."
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