SEATTLE — Mariners left-hander Erik Bedard is having another surgery on his throwing shoulder, all but ending his season and perhaps his time with Seattle.
Manager Don Wakamatsu said Wednesday that Bedard will have exploratory surgery on Friday in Los Angeles with Dr. Lewis Yocum, who removed a cyst from Bedard’s shoulder in September.
Wakamatsu said the procedure will inspect a frayed labrum and examine the joint.
“Unless they find something (else), it would be considered minor,” Wakamatsu said.
The 30-year-old former ace of the Baltimore Orioles is in the final months of his contract and could become a free agent this winter. He has been experiencing pain in his shoulder since at least early June and was placed on the disabled list for the second time this summer on July 26. He’s been on the active roster for just 20 days since June 17.
Last season, he didn’t pitch after July 4 because of shoulder pain.
Bedard said Friday this discomfort is coming from the top of his shoulder, puzzling and frustrating him. Wakamatsu said the Mariners’ medical staff suspects this latest pain may be from impingement — pressure on the rotator cuff.
“It’s frustrating, I can tell you that,” said Bedard, who is on the disabled list for the fourth time in the last two seasons. “Being hurt for two seasons, new team, everyone thinks … That’s all I’m going to say.”
His eyes then widened as he exhaled deeply into a long sigh.
What everyone thinks in Seattle is that Bedard is brittle and a bust. He has rarely lasted deep into starts and has won 11 games in 30 starts since he was acquired from Baltimore in February 2008 for five top prospects. Two of the traded — closer George Sherrill and outfielder Adam Jones — became All-Stars.
The Mariners have been winning without Bedard, entering Wednesday’s series finale against the Chicago White Sox five games over .500 and on the fringes of the race for the AL wild-card berth. Seattle hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2001.
“He’s a little dejected, in the fact where we are right now and how he could help us,” Wakamatsu said. “He’s enjoyed his time here and he’s said publicly he wants to come back.”
The Mariners are faced with a decision whether to offer Bedard salary arbitration, which could result in a contract for 2010 near the $7.75 million he got this season. It may result in Seattle getting compensated with draft picks should Bedard leave in free agency, though he may not qualify statistically as a top-tier free agent because he’s been hurt so often.
He got a $750,000 raise from Seattle for 2009 after going 6-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 15 starts last season. He had surgery to remove the cyst and non-healthy tissue in his shoulder last September.
Wakamatsu deflected a question of whether he expected Bedard to ever pitch for him again, saying that’s up to general manager Jack Zduriencik.
“I don’t know. That’s a tough one for me to answer,” Wakamatsu said. “I’ll leave that up to Jack.”