Bedard feels good despite homers

Bedard feels good despite homers

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Erik Bedard probably can't wait to throw a pitch at Safeco Field, where the air is heavier and baseballs don't travel nearly as far as they do here in the desert.

Three of the 74 pitches he threw Saturday afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium went up, up and away.

"He made a couple of mistakes, leaving some pitches out over the plate, but a couple of them were fly balls that the wind blew out," said manager John McLaren after the Mariners lost a 14-8 slugfest to the Giants. "That wasn't a Cactus League special, that was a Wrigley Field special right there."

Scheduled to pitch at least five innings in his fourth start of the spring, Bedard made it through four innings. The three home runs wiped out the four-run lead catcher Kenji Johjima provided with a grand slam in the first inning.

  Former Mariners outfielder Randy Winn hit a two-out solo home run in the first inning.

  Center fielder Aaron Rowand slugged a two-run home run in the third to put the Giants ahead.

  And Ray Durham dialed long distance in the fourth inning, smacking a two-run home run that put San Francisco in front by four runs.

When asked after the outing if there was anything in particular he wanted to work on in his last two starts before facing the Rangers in the regular-season opener, March 31 at Safeco Field, Bedard said: "Keep the home runs down."

Bedard now has surrendered a team-high five dingers this spring, all in his last two starts, and his Cactus League ERA climbed to 9.69.

But more important than his ERA, or any eyebrows being raised in the Northwest right about now, Bedard is right on pace (pitch-count-wise) to make his first regular-season start for the Mariners.

"I felt good and that's the main thing," he said. "I don't want to have any pains anywhere and that's all you can ask. I have two more starts, which will get me to 100 [pitches] and I'll be ready for the season."

From what he saw from his chair near the visiting dugout, McLaren liked the sharpness of Bedard's curveball and the overall way the lefty threw the ball.

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"I thought Erik had a much better curveball today," he said. "He showed some tight spin on some of them and that's one of his big pitches. He needs to throw more changeups and he will.

"The numbers weren't there, but I liked the way he was throwing the ball."

And hitting it.

Bedard came to bat in the top of the second inning and flied out to left field.

"I was going up there and swing at the first pitch [from left-hander Barry Zito] no matter what," Bedard said. "I thought I had a chance [for a hit]."

So what kind of hitter is he?

"I think I was 2-for-6 last year," he said. "I went 2-for-3 with one RBI in a game against the Nationals."

Jim Street is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.