Erik Bedard pitched off a mound Saturday for the first time since he went on the disabled list May 26, and the short workout left him feeling healthier -- and happier -- than he had in a long time.

Two hours before the Orioles played Cleveland at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Bedard threw 35 pitches in the Baltimore bullpen, signaling a major step in his recovery from a sprained left knee. He'll throw 50 pitches in the bullpen Monday. If that goes well, he could leave to make a minor league rehabilitation start late this week, he said.

"I didn't really know how I was going to feel until I got on the mound, and now it's a little reassuring," Bedard said. "It went a little better than I thought."

Before he went on the disabled list, Bedard was 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA, then second best in the American League. His successful bullpen pitching Saturday brought good news to a starting pitching rotation that desperately needs it.

Going into Saturday's game, Orioles starters had gone 1-7 with a 7.06 ERA since June 19.

"It's frustrating when you can't help," Bedard said. "I'm eager to get back and do something.

A Long Journey

After two delayed flights and a three-hour layover in Chicago, left-handed pitcher Tim Byrdak finally arrived in Baltimore at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, marking his first return to the major leagues since he played for the Kansas City Royals in 2000.

Byrdak, purchased from Class AAA Ottawa, replaced starter Hayden Penn, who was optioned to Ottawa on Friday. The Orioles designated pitcher Rick Bauer for assignment and signed pitcher John Stephens to a minor league contract. He will report to Ottawa.