Bedard with the Astros in 2013
Los Angeles Dodgers
March 5, 1979 |
|April 17, 2002 for the Baltimore Orioles|
(through 2014 season)
|Earned run average||3.99|
Bédard previously pitched for the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays. With Baltimore, he was the staff ace, setting the franchise single-season strikeouts per nine innings record at 10.93 in 2007.
Bédard was born on March 6, 1979 in Navan, Ontario, a suburb of Ottawa. A Franco-Ontarian, Bédard began his baseball career in the Orleans Little League and the Ontario Baseball Association. He was a pitcher on the 1992 Orleans Junior Red Sox team which beat Glace Bay in the 1992 Canadian Championship. Bédard did not play high school baseball, which is the norm in Canada due to the short season.
Although 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m) and 120 pounds (54 kg) as a senior, he grew seven inches and gained 30 pounds (14 kg) during the summer between graduating from high school and beginning college. He accompanied a friend to a tryout at Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, Connecticut, and made the baseball team as a walk-on.
While in college, he added 10 miles per hour to his fastball, gained another 30 pounds (14 kg), took the "lowest level" non-credit English language course to enhance his knowledge of the language, and became a junior college All-American.
As a left-handed starter, Bédard was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the sixth round of the 1999 Major League Baseball Draft. He made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast Orioles, where he allowed only one earned run in 20.1 innings for an 0.44 ERA, 4th best among all minor league pitchers that year. He spent the 2000 season with the Delmarva Shorebirds of the South Atlantic League, where he was 9–4 with a 3.57 ERA in 29 games (22 starts). In 2001 with the Frederick Keys of the Carolina League, he led all Orioles farmhands with a 2.15 ERA and compiled a 9–2 record in 17 starts.
Bédard made his Major League debut on April 17, 2002, for the Orioles against the New York Yankees. He entered the game in the bottom of the eighth and allowed a single to the first batter he faces (Jason Giambi) before retiring Jorge Posada on a popfly and striking out Robin Ventura swinging before he was replaced by another reliever. He also appeared in a game on April 21 against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and allowed an RBI single to the only batter he faced (Ben Grieve). He was optioned to the Double-A Bowie Baysox two days later and pitched in 13 games for them, including 12 starts, with a 6–3 record and a 1.97 ERA. He was named the Eastern League's best pitching prospect by Baseball America. However, Bédard left his start on June 26 with pain in his left elbow and would undergo "Tommy John" ligament replacement surgery on September 10.
Bédard spent most of the 2003 season on the disabled list rehabbing his elbow and returned to make only six short starts in the minors late in the season. He received an invitation to big-league spring training the next year and made the most of his opportunity, beating out other pitchers for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. In 2004, he posted a 4.59 ERA in 137⅓ innings of work. His strikeout numbers were 7.93 K/9, and he had 71 walks allowed. Bédard was criticized for having a high pitch count (19.5 pitches/inning), forcing him to frequently make early exits from ballgames, and he was criticized for lacking a third type of pitch.
Under the tutelage of pitching coach Ray Miller, who rejoined the Orioles in the middle of the 2004 season, Bédard refined his control of the changeup (his third pitch) to go along with his 91–93 mph fastball and slurve. In the beginning of 2005, he posted a 2.08 ERA, but after a sprained knee sidelined him for two months, he posted a 5.44 ERA. He had one of his best statistical years in 2006, going 15–11 in 33 starts and posting a 3.76 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. He also pitched a total of 196.1 innings, his highest in any season.
Bédard was named the Orioles' 2007 Opening Day starting pitcher. On May 20, he recorded his first major league hit, a single up the middle in the 5th against the Washington Nationals. In his next at-bat, he looped an RBI single over shortstop, going 2–2 with a sacrifice in the game. On July 7, Bédard struck out 15 Texas Rangers, matching the Orioles franchise record set by Mike Mussina. In the same game, he faced the minimum number of batters (27), as the only two batters who reached base were later out on double plays. His 15 strikeouts also set the record for the most in a game by a Canadian. His performance throughout the month earned him the American League Pitcher of the month award for July 2007.
Although he played for a losing team, Bédard's individual performance put him among those shortlisted to contend for the American League Cy Young Award. Then-teammate Kevin Millar stated that Bédard "probably has the best curveball in baseball." Bédard broke the franchise single-season strikeout record on August 26. The previous record was held by Mike Mussina, who had 218 in 1997.
The results of an MRI on September 4 confirmed that Bédard suffered a strained oblique in his previous start on August 26. Because the Orioles were eliminated from playoff contention later that week, manager Dave Trembley decided to shut down Bédard for the remainder of the season on September 9, prematurely ending his season by placing him on the 60-day disabled list.
On February 8, 2008, Bédard was traded to the Seattle Mariners in a 5-for-1 deal sending outfielder Adam Jones and pitchers George Sherrill, Tony Butler, Chris Tillman and Kam Mickolio to the Orioles. On February 13, Mariners manager John McLaren announced that he would be their Opening Day starter. Bédard then signed a one-year, 7-million dollar deal with the Mariners on February 15, avoiding salary arbitration. He was 6–4 with a 3.67 ERA in 15 starts for the Mariners in 2008 but on July 10, 2008, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with stiffness in his left shoulder. He missed the rest of the season and underwent arthroscopic surgery on the shoulder on September 26.
Bédard only played the first four months of the 2009 season before landing on the disabled list again due to a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder. He finished with a 5–3 record and a 2.82 ERA.
On February 6, 2010, Bédard re-signed with the Mariners to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2011. At the start of the 2010 season, there was hope he would return to the majors as soon as May or June 2010. Since then, he suffered multiple setbacks while rehabbing his shoulder and did not pitch in the majors in 2010, though he did appear in three minor league rehab games.
After the 2010 season, the Mariners declined their 2011 option on Bédard's contract and re-signed him to an incentive laden non-guaranteed contract. He appeared in 16 games for the Mariners to start the 2011 season, with a 4–7 record and a 3.45 ERA.
Boston Red Sox
On July 31, 2011, Bédard and minor league pitcher Josh Fields were traded to the Boston Red Sox for minor league outfielders Trayvon Robinson and Chih-Hsien Chiang as part of a three team deal that also involved minor leaguers Tim Federowicz, Stephen Fife and Juan Rodriguez going to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bedard had 7 wins, 14 losses and an ERA of 5.02 in 24 starts, and was released on August 28.
After their move to the American League, the Houston Astros signed Bédard to a minor-league deal on January 21, 2013. He recorded his first career save on opening day, March 31, 2013 with 3 1/3 innings of relief against rival Texas Rangers. On July 21, 2013, he pitched 6 and 1/3 innings of a no hitter when he asked to leave his no hitter after 109 pitches  In 32 appearances (26 starts) for the Astros, he was 4–12 with a 4.59 ERA.
Tampa Bay Rays
On February 17, 2014, he signed a minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Rays. He was released by the Rays on March 25 and became a free agent, exercising an "opt out" clause in his contract after not making the starting rotation at the end of spring training. A few days later, he changed his mind and agreed to report to the Durham Bulls, the AAA minor league affiliate of the Rays.
On April 11 the Rays announced that Bédard had been called up from Durham to the major league team. He pitched for the Rays until he was designated for assignment on July 28, 2014. Bédard was released on August 3. In 17 appearances (15 starts), he was 4–6 with a 4.76 ERA.
Los Angeles Dodgers
On January 18, 2015, Bédard signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. On March 23 the Dodgers announced that Bédard would miss four to six weeks after he strained his back during a spring training appearance, ending any chance he had to make the opening day roster.
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- Rays Baseball at Twitter.com
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- Aaron Gleeman, NBC Sports, Erik Bedard changes his mind about Triple-A, re-signs with the Rays, March 28, 2014
- Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times, Bedard Called Up, Will be in Bullpen Sunday, April 11, 2014
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- @RaysProspects on Twitter.com, "Rays have officially released LHP Erik Bedard and RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo." August 3, 2014
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- Moreno, Matthew (March 23, 2015). "Dodgers News: Erik Bedard Likely To Miss 4-6 Weeks With Back Strain". Dodgers Nation.com.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Érik Bédard.|
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Erik Bedard on Twitter
J. J. Putz
|American League Pitcher of the Month
|AL hits per nine innings leader