Erik Bedard was leaving Las Vegas Monday, just about the time most of Major League Baseball was getting down to work at the winter meetings.
If anyone was more surprised than the Seattle Mariners media contingent – which saw Bedard walking through the hotel – it was Bedard, who couldn’t quite figure out what the ruckus was.
Was he there huddling with GM Jack Zduriencik about a contract extension? Had the left-hander been traded?
"I flew in Saturday to see my doctor," Bedard said by telephone from the Las Vegas airport. "It was scheduled that way, so I flew in and spent a few nights here and I’m flying home.
"I honestly thought the winter meetings started tomorrow. I got off the elevator and there was a lot of media there. It was weird."
As it turns out, the news Bedard got in Vegas was good – the surgeon who worked on his left shoulder last September looked him over and OKed him to begin throwing again.
"I haven’t thrown a ball since September, and it’ll be good just to start with four minutes on Wednesday," Bedard said. "My brother, Mike, is my catcher. I remember when I was coming back from ‘Tommy John’ surgery, how strange it was to try to throw again.
"You wonder if your arm is going to hurt, if it’s going to blow up. You’re kind of like ‘Oh my God, will it hold up?’ I got through that, I’ll get through this. I’ll build up my strength and endurance and be ready for spring training."
If he’s ready when camp opens in February, the Mariners will be delighted – Bedard figures to be the club’s No. 2 starter behind Felix Hernandez. That would give the Mariners a marvelous 1-2 combination of righty and lefty power to set up the end of rheir rotation: Brandon Morrow, lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith and Carlos Silva.
For now, he’s got the media in Vegas chasing possibilities.
"I don’t know why my being here is a story," Bedard said. "But I’m doing great, since you asked."