That’s Eric Wedge talking before the game with baseball lifer Dave Garcia, age 91. They have one thing in common: Both managed the Cleveland Indians, Garcia from 1979-82, Wedge from 2003-09. Both are also close friends with former Indians star Buddy Bell. San Diego has long been Garcia’s home base, and as long as I’ve been coming here — back to the early 1990s — I’ve never not seen Garcia at a series.
Wedge said he’s going to be happy to get the designated hitter back, for good, on Monday, so he won’t have to try to keep wedging (pun not originally intended, but in retrospect, I’ll take it) more players than he has spots into the lineup. And as long as Ichiro keeps playing right field — and it looks like that’s the case in San Diego — that means that either Casper Wells, Franklin Gutierrez or Michael Saunders will have to sit. Tonight, it’s Wells getting the call over Saunders in left.
“He’s playing good baseball, he’s swinging the bat well,” Wedge said. “We can’t get everyone we want to get in there without the DH. So with Gut and with Michael, we have three games here, and the way it will probably work out, they’ll play two out of three games. We’re just trying to do the best we can with it, personnel wise.”
(Former Mariner Mike Sweeney, shown here with third-base coach Jeff Datz, showed up at the ballpark today).
Meanwhile, Jesus Montero sits out his second straight game, sandwiched by Thursday’s off day.
“I wanted to do that,” Wedge said. “I think it’s a good time for him to have a couple of days, mentally and physically, where he can get away from it a little bit. He can still come out and have a good work day, and we’ll get him back in there tomorrow.”
Montero is hitting .368 against lefties (and Saunders .299), but Wedge didn’t let that sway his decision despite the Padres starting lefty Clayton Richards.
“We’ve got a few guys we feel hit lefties well, but we also want them to go up and compete against righties,” Wedge said. “You pick your spots with that. With Jesus, we just faced this guy not too long ago. I think from a matchup standpoint, we might even be better served to have him in there tomorrow.”
Justin Smoak, who missed Wednesday’s game after fouling a ball off his right knee on Tuesday, is back in the lineup. He said it’s still swollen and a little sore, but not enough to keep him out of action.
One other note: Outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang, taken off the 40-man roster when Oliver Perez was called up, cleared waivers and is back with Class AA Jackson.