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07/23/08 2:35 AM ET

Mariners get good news on Bedard

MRI exam reveals no structural damage in lefty's shoulder

SEATTLE -- A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) exam taken on Mariners left-hander Erik Bedard Tuesday afternoon showed there is nothing structurally wrong with the pitcher's left shoulder and he will continue his current rehabilitation program.

Bedard has been sidelined since July 4 with tightness in his left shoulder.

The exam, taken and examined by Mariners medical director Edward Khalfayan, confirmed the previous diagnosis of an internal impingement.

"I was pretty encouraged by what I heard and I think Erik was encouraged," interim manager Jim Riggleman said after the Mariners' 4-2 loss to the Red Sox. "Whatever was found there, whatever terminology, my understanding is that Erik feels he will be able to get out there and start throwing again pretty soon. That's the hope.

"I don't know when he'll throw again, throw to a catcher or just play catch, but we need him out there and he wants to be out there. There are some things going on [in his shoulder] that is not allowing him to be free and easy. When he is, he'll be out there."

Bedard, acquired from the Orioles in February in a five-for-one trade, has been on the 15-day disabled list twice this season. He missed more than two weeks of April with inflammation in his left hip, and returned to the DL on July 10, retroactive to July 5, with a "tight left shoulder."

He has a 6-4 record 3.67 ERA in 15 starts this season, pitching 81 innings.

"We were thinking he was going to throw a little bit [on Monday]," Riggleman said during his pregame media session on Tuesday. "He threw a little in the [batting] cage on Sunday, and made a little progress, but didn't really feel up to throwing yesterday."

More than anything, besides good health, the Mariners are hoping the MRI gives Bedard some peace of mind.

"From the time he came out of the game on July 4, and then the next couple of days after that didn't feel good, nothing was said that suggested that he definitely would miss a start," Riggleman said. "Then, he missed a start or two and wasn't able to comfortably come out and say he was ready to fire it around, play some catch, get ready to throw bullpen in a few days.

"After a few more days of that, it just became apparent that we had to see if we can clear his mind that there's nothing structurally wrong there so he can have the peace of mind to be able to go out there and let it go and he's not going to hurt himself," Riggleman added.

The issue now is how and when they can get Bedard back on the mound.

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.