Bedard: ‘Last place to first place in a heartbeat’

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Being dealt from Seattle to Boston over the weekend meant Erik Bedard went from worst to first in a blink. He met the media this afternoon, two days before he’s scheduled to make his Red Sox debut, excited by the opportunity to be a part of a pennant chase for the first time in his career.

“This is a great opportunity, when I jump from last place to first place in a heartbeat,” Bedard said. “So it’s fun. I’m just going to come here and do the best I can, try to win ball games and help the team win.”

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“It means the world. You play this game to be in a playoff, to play in a World Series and win a World Series. So it’s a great opportunity and I’m going to do the best I can.”

Sox manager Terry Francona said he intends to hold Bedard to 75-80 pitches Thursday. Bedard went on the 15-day disabled list at the end of June with a sprained left knee and made his first start last Friday, giving up five runs in just 1 2/3 innings in a loss to the Rays. Dealing with a player who’s essentially missed the past month, Francona said it’s important to be patient.

“With Erik, we understand we’re going to have to be a little bit slow here,” Francona said. “He pitched a game probably for obvious reasons, probably before he was ready to pitch. He should have probably been on rehab. Now, we all understand why. I’m glad he did. But he’ll be on a pitch limit Thursday and we’re going to try to ramp him up to the point where — we obviously need to win games, but we also need to look at the big picture where we want him to be at his best coming in September and hopefully moving forward.”

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Coming to Boston:
This is a great opportunity, when I jump from last place to first place in a heartbeat. So it’s fun. I’m just going to come here and do the best I can, try to win ball games and help the team win.
Pitching at Fenway:
It’s my favorite park in the big leagues. The atmosphere, the fans, it feels so close. It’s just a nice ballpark.
Thrill of a pennant race:
For everybody to be in a playoff race and to be on a contending team is what you want to accomplish being a baseball player.
Describe the weekend with scouts watching his first start back on Friday and the uncertainty leading up to the trade deadline:

I didn’t think anything about it until Sunday before 1. Usually it takes time to get a trade done. I was looking at the clock to see pretty much where I was going and 30 seconds before the clock ended I got traded.
Pitching in the AL East:
It’s nice. I spent five years here and it brings back memories and it’s closer to home. I only live seven hours from here and the travels way better here.
Health:
Right now I feel good. Right now I don’t really have any concerns.
Adjustments playing in a big market:
When you’re on the mound you just do what you can. Adjustments, I mean, I don’t think you have to change what you do day-in, day-out. You just go out there and do the same thing and try to help the team win.
Side-session a couple weeks ago here:
I didn’t really pay attention. I was just concentrating on throwing strikes and getting the ball down.
Clubhouse reception:
Good. I said ‘hi’ to all the guys. They’re all new guys. I only know Lackey and McDonald, that I played with in Double-A. So, it’ll take time to get to know everybody and, hopefully, I don’t screw up any names.
Jon Lester:
I’ve seen him pitch for a couple years, and he’s a great pitcher. I’ll probably sit beside him on the bench and pick his brain.
Working with Varitek and Saltalamacchia:
It may take a couple games to get on the same page like anybody else. You can’t just guess every pitch. It’ll take a little time, but it’s an easy adjustment.
Curt Young:
I don’t know much. We spent that time in Japan for a couple days, but I’ll get to know him in the next couple weeks and we’ll just go from there.
Pressure:
I’ll just come in here and do what I can. There’s no sense in putting more pressure if that’s not going to help. Sometimes when you put more pressure, you don’t do as good. I’ve just got to come in here and do what I can to help this ball team win.
Arm strength:
I’ve just got to get my pitch count up. Last game, I threw 63 I think. This time I;ll probably go to 80 and then a hundred and I’ll be fine.
Last start:
Just the control. That might take a game or two, but I felt good. So that’s pretty much the bottom line.
Playing in the postseason for the first time:
It means the world. You play this game to be in a playoff, to play in a world series and win a world series. So it’s a great opportunity and I’m going to do the best I can.

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