The waiting was over. It was time for Baltimore Orioles left-hander Erik Bedard to show that he was ready to climb back to the majors.
Bedard took the mound for the Class AA Bowie Baysox last night, facing off against the Washington Nationals' Zach Day, who was also in the minors on a rehabilitation assignment with the visiting Harrisburg Senators.
Early in his first action since going on the disabled list May 26 with a strained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, Bedard looked good. He struggled in the second inning, giving up two runs as the Baysox fell to the Senators, 4-2.
Bedard struck out his first three batters -- all looking -- including the Nationals' 2005 first-round draft pick, Ryan Zimmerman. Those were his highlights. His lows came in the second inning, starting with designated hitter Dee Brown rocking a pitch to the wall in right-center for a double. Bedard walked the next batter and then watched as Edgar Gonzalez lofted a double over first baseman Simon Pond to score two runs. Bedard settled down, striking out Melvin Dorta and inducing a groundout by Cristian Guerrero.
"The knee doesn't hurt, that's all I'm happy about," Bedard said.
Bedard said he was not affected by his injured left knee that now sports a brace. In all, Bedard struck out four, walked one and gave up two runs on two hits. He expects to have at least two more starts with Bowie before being called back up. Bedard was a key to the Orioles' early success. He went 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA in nine starts.
Day had the opposite night of Bedard, starting slow and warming up as the game went on. Day, making his second minor league appearance since taking a ball hit by Ken Griffey Jr. off his right arm on May 23, allowed a grounder up the middle by Peter Bergeron to start his outing. A sacrifice bunt and single to left put runners on the corners for Pond, who hit a fielder's choice to Zimmerman at third base that scored Bergeron.
Day got behind in the count against Woody Cliffords but eventually got him to ground out. His displeasure was noticeable as he took off his hat and walked slowly to the dugout.
Day, who was scheduled for 65 pitches, threw 64 and left the game after five innings, having allowed five hits, one run and one walk. He gathered four strikeouts.
"I feel like I'm okay right now," he said. "I'm confident in my pitches and breaking ball. . . . I knew I had to work on my change-up, so I was throwing it more than usual. . . . I got a feel for it."
Minor League Note: Frederick Keys pitcher James Johnson has been selected to take part in Sunday's All-Star Futures Game as a member of the U.S. team.