KANSAS CITY -- The bad news for the Mariners is that left-hander Erik Bedard is expected to require six to nine months of rehabilitation following his exploratory shoulder surgery on Sept. 26. The good news is that Seattle is developing a cluster of young starters in the waning days of this season who have the potential to bolster the rotation early next year.
The Mariners organization will make plans for a rotation that does not include Bedard on Opening Day in 2009. When Bedard is ready, it'll potentially be a major boost to the staff during the grind of a 162-game season.
"I don't think we can go through the offseason banking on him being ready for the start of the season," said Lee Pelekoudas, the Mariners' vice president and general manager of baseball operations. "I think we have to get five guys in line and then have him be ready at some point after the start of the season."
The reality of Major League Baseball is that all clubs have to make contingency plans for needing more than the five starters who comprise the rotation coming out of Spring Training.
"You've got to get seven or eight guys ready to go," Pelekoudas said. "You never know about injuries. You've got to have guys lined up who can come up from Triple-A and start for you."
Pelekoudas said that until Dr. Lewis Yocum performs the surgery, there's no way to pinpoint a definitive rehabilitation schedule for Bedard. The six- to nine-month forecast was simply a pre-surgery opinion that could be altered once Yocum has completed his work.
The Mariners are, in effect, building insurance with their young starters gaining Major League experience in September.
"That's what we've been trying to do the last month or six weeks of the season," Pelekoudas said. "Get them some experience, get a look at them and then determine what our options are for next season."
Robert Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.