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June 14, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Mariners manager Eric Wedge has chat with players about recent home slump

Mariners manager Eric Wedge was asked today whether he’d spoken with his players about their recent shortcomings at Safeco Field. The Mariners have dropped four straight at home — including the first two of a series against a San Diego team with the worst record in the majors — and their offensive numbers are downright scary at this ballpark.
The Mariners enter play tonight batting .199 at home compared to .257 on the road. Seattle has an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of .588 at home versus .725 on the road. In terms of slugging alone, they are at just .306 at home versus .417 away.
Wedge acknowledged that he had indeed spoke to his players.
“Nothing I really want to talk about,” he said. “But just some of the things that I feel, like where they need to be. It was addressed and it wasn’t anything fundamental. I can tell you that much.”
As I mentioned last night, Wedge appears to be growing irritated with all the talk about Safeco Field impacting his hitters. He probably isn’t thrilled with hearing some of them openly discuss the issue when asked about it.
The last thing the team wants is for players to get this ballpark in their heads to the point where it impacts them psychologically. And there’s a chance that might happen even when the players try to do the right thing by answering straightforward questions about the ballpark and the obvious splits between here and the road.
“You can’t deny it, it’s there,” Wedge said. “I mean, it’s in black and white. But the thing about it is, fundamentally, these are the same guys. There’s got to be a certain degree of grit about you in regards to where you play. And I’ve said it from day one when I got this job. I don’t give a damn where we play, who we’re playing, what the temperature is, how many people are in the stands. We show up with those intangibles each and every da. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee performance. But it does guarantee that you’ll have a chance to perform.”

Wedge has Franklin Gutierrez back in tonight’s lineup, batting eighth and playing center field. He is also sticking with Munenori Kawasaki at shortstop for a second straight night and going once again with Jesus Montero behind the plate.
Beyond tonight, though, I wouldn’t expect to see Montero behind the plate a third straight game. Part of this is a reward for his play last night, but Wedge said he isn’t planning to use Montero more regularly as a catcher while putting Miguel Olivo at DH — even though Montero has much better offensive numbers when he is catching.
“Jesus, again, like we’ve talked about all year, just isn’t ready to catch every day,” Wedge said.
But Wedge was pleased by what he saw last night.
“You know what? He gets excited about the right things and that’s when a pitcher on the mound is doing well,” Wedge said.
We’ll see Erasmo Ramirez take the mound for his first major league start tonight, with Montero back there.
The lineups:
CF Will Venable
SS Everth Cabrera
3B Chase Headley
DH Carlos Quentin
1B Yonder Alonso
RF Chris Denorfia
LF Jesus Guzman
C John Baker
2B Alexi Amarista
RHP Edison Volquez
RF Ichiro
2B Dustin Ackley
3B Kyle Seager
C Jesus Montero
1B Justin Smoak
LF Michael Saunders
DH John Jaso
CF Franklin Gutierrez
SS Munenori Kawasaki
RHP Erasmo Ramirez

Comments | Topics: Jesus Montero


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