Erik Bedard doesn’t say much. The veteran lefthander chooses his words carefully as though he were checking his word count. Yet “gramps” as he is affectionately known by his teammates has served a crucial role for the young Astros.

On a six-man rotation with four rookies and five men 25 or younger Bedard has been a major asset in helping the youngest team in the majors maneuver through the season.

At 34 and with 10 years in the majors Bedard may not have been the ace of the ace-less staff this year. Yet he has held all of his fellow starters’ respect all season.

Eager students

“Obviously it hasn’t been a great season for the organization but he’s kept his cool throughout the whole time going to the bullpen and coming back to starting” Jarred Cosart said. “He’s been able to talk to me about anything from pitching and the mental side of it or whatever I want to know.

“It’s been big for all of us. Obviously we’d all like to have him back next year as a young staff as kind of like a mentor someone we can lean on to help us through tough times.”

Bedard (4-11 4.60 ERA) will start the finale of the four-game series against the Indians on Sunday at Progressive Field.

He has made 24 starts and six relief appearances giving up 77 runs (71 earned) over 139 innings. Bedard was temporarily dropped to the bullpen last month but he handled that demotion with the same quiet demeanor that easily could be confused for indifference.