Bedard may stay with Rays even if he doesn't get No. 5 starter job
After the final candidate for the Rays fifth starter made his final audition Friday, veteran LHP Erik Bedard feels like he's done enough to crack the rotation.
But even Bedard, 35, doesn't know how it'll turn out when the Rays decide between him, LHP Cesar Ramos or RHP Jake Odorizzi Saturday.
"The other guys I'm competing with are really good, it's hard to make a decision I'm sure," Bedard said. "They're going to crunch some numbers and go with their gut feeling. It's a great opportunity, I love the team, the organization. We''ll see tomorrow."
Bedard acknowledged his numbers didn't look great - allowing four runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays. But liked how he felt, and threw, getting his breaking balls over for strikes and his fastball reaching 92 miles per hour.
"I thought it was better than my other outings," he said.
Ramos had the best spring, with a 2.63 ERA (11 strikeouts, one walk) in four exhibitions, including Thursday's outing, which manager Joe Maddon said was the best he's ever seen him pitch. Odorizzi, who showed flashes with the Rays late last season, went 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA while developing his new splitter, "a huge weapon."
But Maddon has said overall experience will carry more weight than spring stats, and Bedard - who has pitched 10 big-league seasons - has impressed the club with his personality and pitching.
Bedard has loved the Rays too, calling the organization a "breath of fresh air." Though Bedard has an opt-out clause Mar. 31, he didn't rule out staying with Tampa Bay, even in Triple-A, if he doesn't get the starting job.
"The opt-out is just because a lot of guys have been hurt," Bedard said. "I think probably everybody would do the same thing. If nobody gets hurt, I'd go with the flow and if I go to Triple-A, I'll go to Triple-A."