Bedard competing for fifth starter’s job with Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) Erik Bedard is excited about the prospect of helping the Tampa Bay Rays get back to the playoffs.

The 34-year-old left-hander signed a minor league contract on the eve of the start of spring training and is being given an opportunity to compete for a job as the team’s No. 5 starter.

Bedard struggled the past two seasons, going 11-26 with a combined 4.78 ERA for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros. The Rays will decide over the next few weeks if he’s capable of filling in for the injured Jeremy Hellickson, who’s expected to miss the first six to eight weeks of the season after undergoing elbow surgery.