With Erik Bedard out of the rotation, the Pirates have several days to figure out how they plan on moving forward. The club has an off day on Thursday before opening up a three-game set in Milwaukee on Friday. Bedard’s spot in the rotation doesn’t come up until Saturday, which is also September 1st when the Pirates can expand the rosters.
“We’re still working through that as we line up our rotation through this weekend in Milwaukee,” Manager Clint Hurdle said. “I think we’ve figured that out. We need to talk to the people involved. I don’t think we’re going to open up that slot, that second game in Milwaukee. We might just go with four. They would just pitch on four days, because of the off day. Then the spot would open in Houston.”
Although Hurdle didn’t indicate as to who they would give the ball to, look at rookies in Jeff Locke or Kyle McPherson to get the opportunity. Both are expected to be September callups, and could get the ball over Kevin Correia, who is a free agent at the end of the season. When asked, Hurdle did say they are taking Correia, who is currently in the bullpen, into consideration as well.
The Pirates released Bedard on Tuesday. Hurdle said the move was strictly performance based. Bedard finished with a 5.01 ERA over 24 starts with Pittsburgh this season. He allowed six earned over 4.2 innings his final trip to the mound at PNC Park on Sunday.
“We had tried some various methods to get Erik on a more consistent place,” Hurdle said. “His home splits were pretty good and effective. His road splits weren’t the same. The last home stand he won a couple games. Just tried to find a rhythm and a rhyme to get him on a roll and weren’t able to do it. The decision was made that we would be better served to going in another direction in that spot in the rotation.”
Bedard tossed 125.2 innings this season, just 3.2 frames shy of his entire 2011 season. The left-hander hadn’t pitched more than 85 innings prior to last year since the 2007 season due to health issues. Bedard only dealt with back spasms with the Pirates, and remained healthy all season. But at the end of the day, it came down to consistent command.
“We had a very meaningful conversation in here last night with Erik, Neal [Huntington] and myself,” Hurdle said. “He brought his attitude and his effort everyday. If you don’t know the guy, I don’t know if you get a good grasp on it. He cares and he competes. He actually altered a number of things this year to try and find a better consistent level of pitching. He appreciated the opportunity and sometimes you all work in the same direction, you just don’t get the right results. He was very professional going out the door. There was no health concerns. That was the one thing that was challenging for all of us. In the past, he’s had to deal with health issues and that never really came into play this year.”
“Overall consistent command. It’s the tell-tale story for all pitchers. The ability to repeat your delivery, hit your spots, move the ball around, change speeds. When he was able to do that, he was very effective. When he wasn’t, there was a number of games where he wasn’t able to get through five. That becomes challenging as well for the rest of the staff.”