How good is life for Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu?
He spent the day fishing for bass with his son near their home in Texas. Later, he went to the boy’s high school football postseason banquet. And he also talked with a sportswriter about today’s Erik Bedard signing.
Thanks for taking my call, Wak. Two out of three still makes for a good day, right?
Wakamatsu believes there wasn’t a better situation for Bedard than what he could have with the Mariners. Once he finishes his comeback from shoulder surgery — possibly by mid-May — he’ll rejoin a rotation where the attention, expectations and pressure should be a lot less than what he felt the past two years with the Mariners.
He’ll work under the higher-profile shadows of Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee, and he returns to a Mariners team (and pitching coach Rick Adair) who offer a relative comfort zone compared to what he might have gotten with another team.
“It takes him a while to be acclimated,” Wakamatsu said. “One of the reasons he came back is that he’s got a comfort level here. He knows he’ll feel more at ease and there’s not the pressure. Erik made a commitment because of his comfort level and what he thinks he can do here. He had options to go other places.”
The last thing Wakamatsu wants is to place a timetable on Bedard’s return, whether it’s as early as May or as late as July.
“For me, it’s really a kind of a security blanket for us. We got somebody who’s awfully, awfully good in waiting,” Wakamatsu said. “I don’t think you try to push it. All the reports we got are pretty positive, that he’s ahead of schedule. But we’ll let him dictate that.”