As trade rumors swirl, Bedard keeps focus

As trade rumors swirl, Bedard keeps focus

SEATTLE -- Mariners left-hander Erik Bedard makes his 11th start of the season in Sunday's series finale against the Twins, and the closer it gets to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, the more his name could be mentioned in trade rumors.

As a potential free agent at the end of the season, Bedard understands why his name would be mentioned.

During a recent radio interview, Bedard said it isn't difficult to deal with rumors that he might be traded.

"I don't really pay much attention to it," Bedard told the Mariners' flagship radio station. "I know that it might happen. I might get traded or not, or there's going to be a lot of talk. That's the way this sport is. You have to deal with it. You're in the sport and you just deal with it and not try to think about it."

The cash register clangs pretty much each time he has pitched this season.

The 30-year-old ranks fourth in the American League with a 2.37 ERA, ranks 10th in strikeouts with 61, and has surrendered two or fewer runs in eight of his first 10 outings.

Bedard's record should be better than it is and he is still in the hunt for his first All-Star Game invitation.

A winning streak in June could make Bedard a strong candidate to represent the Mariners in the July 14 All-Star Game in St. Louis.

In the best-case scenario, the Mariners will become a buyer instead of a seller heading into the trading deadline, keep Bedard for the remainder of the season and then sign him to a multi-year contract.

But Bedard said that he has not discussed a contract extension with the organization that acquired him from the Orioles last season for five players.

"I love Seattle," Bedard said. "You can't complain with this city, the fans, the stadium, the new coaches we've got, the players ... it's a lot of fun. I love it here, so if it [contract extension] does happen, I'd be happy."

Bedard has a 10-6 record and 3.11 ERA in 25 career starts with the Mariners.

This will be his 10th career start against the Twins, the only AL team he never has beaten. Bedard is 0-5 versus Minnesota with a 4.80 ERA.

Pitching matchup
SEA: LHP Erik Bedard (4-2, 2.37 ERA)
The left-hander continues to be the Mariners' most reliable starter, holding the Orioles to one run over 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts in his last start. He has been so locked into the strike zone that 148 of his last 220 pitches have been strikes.

MIN: RHP Kevin Slowey (8-1, 3.97 ERA)
Slowey moved into second place in wins among AL pitchers when he captured No. 8 of the season in his last start against the Indians. The right-hander held Cleveland to just two runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings. It marked Slowey's fifth straight quality start and his seventh of the season. For only the fourth time this season, Slowey did not give up a long ball to Cleveland -- allowing both of his runs on a Kelly Shoppach two-run double in the seventh inning. He is 1-0 with a 7.50 ERA in one career start vs. Seattle.

Tidbits
Right-handed reliever Shawn Kelley, sidelined with a left oblique strain, will accompany the team on its upcoming road trip to Baltimore, Denver and San Diego to continue his throwing program. It probably will be about two weeks before he throws off a mound. ... Catcher Kenji Johjima (broken left big toe) will rejoin the team in San Diego for batting practice but will not be activated from the disabled list. Rob Johnson, who replaced Johjima as the main man behind the plate, missed Saturday afternoon's game against the Twins and could also be a spectator in Sunday's series finale. He fouled a pitch off his left instep on Friday night and also was involved in a collision at home plate. ... Nearly half of the Mariners' games this season have been decided by one run. Going into Sunday's game against the Twins, 26 of the Mariners' 56 games have been nail-biting affairs. The single-season club record for one-run games is 56, set in 1993.

Tickets
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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN

On radio
• 710 ESPN, FSN-SAP (Español)

Up next
• Monday: Off-day
• Tuesday: Mariners (Felix Hernandez, 5-3, 3.22) at Orioles (Brad Bergesen, 2-2, 4.64), 4:05 p.m. PT
• Wednesday: Mariners (Jason Vargas, 2-0, 1.93) at Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 4-5, 5.61), 4:05 p.m. PT

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