M's Bedard unlikely to pitch again before August

SEATTLE -- The Mariners have made talk of Erik Bedard and the trading deadline simple.

It's "irrelevant."

Seattle manager Jim Riggleman said Friday the tightness in Bedard's left shoulder did not improve over the All-Star break, so he will not even throw a baseball until Monday when will try to play catch. If that goes well, Bedard could throw a bullpen session next week, but the team is not trying to get him back pitching in game before the July 31 non-waivers trading deadline just so it can showcase him to potential suitors.

Major league rules prohibit teams from trading players while they are on the disabled list, unless such a deal is expressly approved by the commissioner. Bedard, 6-4 with a 3.67 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 81 innings, is eligible to come off the DL Sunday. He is signed with Seattle through 2009.

"We're not looking at trying to pitch him before the 31st. The 31st is irrelevant with a guy who's got a tender arm," Riggleman said before Seattle began a series against Cleveland.

Bedard hasn't pitched since July 4 and has basically been a disappointment, not being able to last long in games since Seattle acquired him in February from Baltimore for five players -- including reliever George Sherrill, who was an All-Star this week.

Bedard was also on the DL in April for inflammation in his hip and has pitched with assorted pains since. If Bedard doesn't return within two weeks, as now seems likely, Riggleman said he will likely be asked to go on a rehabilitation assignment in the minor leagues.

"I would say if we wait another 10 days and get into August, we'd be looking at a rehab assignment," Riggleman said.

In other news, Riggleman said veteran designated hitter Jose Vidro, who is hitting .215 with a meager .310 slugging percentage, will see less playing time with Friday's promotion of rookie first baseman Bryan LaHair. Vidro, who turns 34 next month, was not in the lineup Friday night.

The Mariners entered Friday 20 games out of first place, and they want LaHair to play along with fellow rookie catcher Jeff Clement in preparation for 2009. That leaves former starting catcher Kenji Johjima destined for more time as the designated hitter and Vidro destined for the bench.

Seattle signed Johjima earlier this season to a $24 million, three-year contract extension that looks worse by the day.

The developments likely mean the end of Vidro's Seattle tenure, which began when he was acquired in a trade in December 2006. His contract has a vesting option for 2009 for $6 million, with a $500,000 buyout, that would take effect only if he has 600 plate appearances this season. Vidro has 282 through Seattle's first 95 games.

"He's kind of getting the short end of the stick," Riggleman said, in terms of current playing time.