SEATTLE -- It's not that one or two players could have changed the fortunes of the struggling Mariners, but there are "what if" element to the team this season involving two key pitchers. What if pitchers Erik Bedard and Miguel Batista had been healthy for the full season? Unfortunately for the team, that's unanswerable since both have been dogged by injuries for the entire campaign. Bedard, acquired from Baltimore in a mega deal before the season, was placed on the disabled list once in April for a sore hip then again July 5 with a sore shoulder. He remains on the DL seven weeks later.
"He will probably start throwing again in the next day or two," manager Jim Riggleman said. "There's ups and downs when they go through that process. Today was a good day. Some days are not as good." Batista, who led the club with a career-high 16 victories last season, has not landed on the DL this season but probably should have. He has battled back, groin and rib injuries. He began the season as a starter but now is in the bullpen with a 4-12 record and 6.55 ERA. Riggleman said the difference between Bedard and Batista is that "Miguel was communicating that [injuries] to us probably earlier and more clearly than Erik. Erik, basically after five innings in that July 4 game said, 'I'm done. My arm is hanging a little bit.' "That [Bedard's injury] probably had been going on for a couple months. But it seems like Miguel wasn't right from Spring Training. It wasn't stopping him from pitching, but he was never himself. We were in tune to that. He brought it to our attention early on and tried to pitch through it." Bedard, who missed the 2003 season due to elbow surgery, has appeared in just 15 games this season, going 6-4 with a 3.67 ERA. "I hate to use that word too much, frustrating. It's a word that been surrounding us so much of the year," Riggleman said. "You feel bad for him. The guy pitched through a lot of pain early. And because he doesn't talk to you guys [reporters], he was never able to get that message out there. "There's a perception that he wasn't pitching as much as he should, but it was just the opposite. He was probably pitching more than he should have. So I'm not disappointed or frustrated with anything. I just look forward to the time when we can get him healthy." Time is running out as the whether Bedard will pitch again for this club. With the Minor Leagues ending their seasons soon, he won't be able to have a rehab start. He may have to be sent to the Arizona training complex for work, if he's ready and able. "I don't know how much pain there is in there, how he's feeling," Riggleman added. "I think Erik's the only one to answer it, but unfortunately he's not talking."
Bob Sherwin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.