Astros pitcher Erik Bedard was dominating the Mariners Saturday night, racking up ten strikeouts, five walks and no hits over 6 1/3 innings. Then, he decided not to pitch anymore.
Bedard had a legitimate reason to quit in the middle of a possible no-hitter; at that point, he had thrown 109 pitches. Bedard's 34, and although he used to be able to get away with high pitch counts with the Orioles, it's not worth it now. The Astros only signed him to a one-year deal, so if Bedard had exerted himself, it could have ended up poorly for his long-term future. He discussed his reasoning after the game:
"I've had three shoulder surgeries," Bedard said. "I'm not going over 110 (pitches). I'd rather pitch a couple more years than face another batter."
About a week ago, we watched Tim Lincecum of the Giants throw a 148-pitch no-hitter, but those were under different circumstances. Lincecum's 29 and has no concerning injury history—this is the freak who won't ice his arm regardless of an outing's length. Bedard doesn't want to gamble on that. He'd rather aspire for some more money over one day of glory and a large chunk of that night's Sportscenter dedicated to him. And who can blame him?