PITTSBURGH -- Left-hander Erik Bedard, who had held off his history of injuries to set a pace for the Pirates' strong early-season pitching, was forced out of his Wednesday night start by back spasms while facing Washington's leadoff batter in the second inning.
Bedard worked a perfect first inning, and had a 1-2 count on Adam LaRoche when he finished his last delivery by resting both palms on his knees.
He stood with head bowed on the mound for a while, until catcher Rod Barajas strolled to the mound, soon joined by manager Clint Hurdle and trainers.
Bedard winced while describing the discomfort he was feeling, and quickly walked off the mound and toward the dugout, stepping gingerly.
"It just locked up on me. You can't move. It wasn't as bad as the last time it happened (in 2008, while pitching for Seattle in Atlanta). I'll take some muscle relaxers, and should be better in a couple of days."
The left-hander had been limited to 54 starts the last four years by various injuries before signing a free-agent contract with the Pirates.
He took a misleading record of 2-4, along with a 2.65 ERA, into his seventh start of the season Wednesday. Bedard also leads the Pirates with 37 strikeouts, in 35 innings.
Brad Lincoln replaced Bedard on the mound for the Pirates in the middle game of their three-game set with Washington.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.