Bedard's future with Mariners in limbo

SEATTLE -- Since arriving in Seattle 18 months ago, Erik Bedard has been on and off the disabled list. He's been in and out of doctors offices and MRI machines.

Now, he, his season and perhaps his tenure with the Mariners are in limbo.

Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said Friday the ailing ace has fraying in his pitching shoulder. Doctors are reviewing Bedard's second MRI exam of the summer to determine the next step, with more definitive word expected this weekend.

"It's frustrating, I can tell you that. Being hurt for two seasons. New team. Everyone thinks ... That's all I'm going to say," said the 30-year-old former ace of the Baltimore Orioles, who is on the disabled list for fourth time in the last two seasons.

His eyes then widened as he exhaled deeply into a long sigh.

"We know he wants to pitch for this ball club," Wakamatsu said.

The left-hander has been roundly criticized in Seattle for being brittle and not dependable while winning just 11 games in 30 starts since he was acquired from the Orioles in February 2008 for five top prospects.

Two of those prospects, closer George Sherrill and outfielder Adam Jones, became All-Stars.

Bedard has been on the active roster for just 20 days since June 17.

He said he has no idea if he will pitch again this season, which means he has no idea if he will pitch again for Seattle.

He is in the final months of his contract and could become a free agent this winter. The Mariners are faced with a decision whether to offer Bedard salary arbitration, which could result in a contract for 2010 near the $7.75 million one he got for this season. It may or may not result in Seattle getting compensated with draft picks should Bedard leave in free agency. Bedard may not qualify statistically as a top-tier free agent because he's been hurt so often these last two seasons.

He got a $750,000 raise from Seattle for 2009 after going 6-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 15 starts last season. He didn't pitch after July 4 and had surgery to remove a cyst and non-healthy tissue in his left shoulder in September.

Wakamatsu said the only good to come from Friday's news that Bedard is that the team is getting closer to "some finality of what's going on."

"There's slight fraying," the manager said. "It just confirms there's something in there [causing pain]."