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March 30, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Wedge still not ready to name his closer

Greetings from beautiful Dodger Stadium, where I’m filling in for Geoff Baker tonight. He’ll be back with the team in Oakland tomorrow. I’ve been coming to Dodger Stadium for more than 40 years — I grew up in L.A. — and I can’t remember ever seeing a more beautiful night for baseball. Not a speck of smog in the air, so the mountains in the background are clear as can be. Almost brings a tear to my eye.
Interestingly, when I asked Eric Wedge a few minutes ago if he was ready to announce his closer, he still wasn’t prepared to commit to Brandon League.That very well could be because he hasn’t told League yet, but it’s only 48 hours until Opening Day.

“We haven’t announced anything yet,” Wedge replied to the question. “We’re still holding off on that. League and (Chris) Ray and Jamey Wright, the veteran guys, are going to be at the back end of our bullpen. How we set it up, we’re still not exactly 100 percent sure how we’re going to play it out. We’ll see what happens.”
Asked if he’s going to go with one guy rather than a committee, Wedge replied. “You need to set up the roles, and Carl (Willis) and I are going to talk about that in the next couple of days. Before I tell you guys, I’m going to talk to them.”
Similarly, Wedge said he wasn’t yet ready to announce who will start in center field Friday in Oakland, with the expected announcement that Franklin Gutierrez is going on the disabled list. It will presumably be either Michael Saunders or Ryan Langerhans. I expect some official roster announcements after the game on Gutierrez, Langerhans and Luis Rodriguez (the latter two still have to be officially added to the 40-man roster), but the Mariners don’t have to submit their final roster until 8 a.m. Thursday.
“We’re not going to be officially set until we are set, until we send it into the league,” Wedge said. “We have until tomorrow morning. Obviously, we have 25 guys here. There’s always a chance something could happen at the last second, but right now these are our guys.”
Here are some other thoughts from Wedge:
On the Mariners’ spring: “I think their approach has been what I’m most pleased with. Their approach to the game, their approach to the day, their approach to their work. Those are the things we can control, and were very important to me coming over here, making sure we got all that squared away. They’re going to continue to get better. As long as they’re going about things the right way, they’ll continue to get better, and that will happen.”
On how many wins he expects: “I don’t ever talk about wins and losses in that regard. We’ll be a better team. I think we still have a lot of work to do here, we still have a ways to go. But ultimately we’ll continue to edge in the right direction. The only way we can do that is start playing games, and that’s right around the corner.”
On the biggest improvement he’s seen this spring: “I don’t know. Time will tell. There’s a lot of uncertainty around here right now. That’s what I was talking about putting yourself in a position to get better and that’s what we’ve done.”
On the rotation: “We weren’t sure what to expect from (Erik) Bedard, and he’s been fantastic all spring. The kid (Michael) Pineda has really stepped up, and we’re happy with the other three, too. You’re always going to need more, we know that. We’re working with our depth. You want five guys to give you a chance to win ball games, and I think we definitely have that.”
On the biggest suprprise of spring: “I think just seeing Erik Bedard pitch free and easy and healthy, and really enjoying his time. It’s a great game, but it’s really tough when you’re not healthy. It’s been a while since he’s been healthy. So it was nice to watch him go out there and play with a healthy arm for the first time in awhile.”



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