Mariners interim manager Robby Thompson says Eric Wedge is progressing really well in his recovery from a mild stroke and could join the team when it comes off this road trip a week from now.
“He’s doing really good,” he said. “He’s doing outstanding. I talked to him yesterday and he’s passing everything with flying colors. He’s feeling much better and there’s a real good chance that he will join us when we get back. That’s kind of where it stands right now. I’m not 100 percent sure on that but that’s kind of what we’re hoping. He sounds great. Each and every day, he’s feeling better. He’s following all the rules and guidelines of what he should be doing. He’s determined to get through this thing and get back in it and ocntinue where he left off.”
I asked Thompson whether Wedge would definitely be resuming full managerial duties, or get eased back into things.
“You know what? We talked briefly about it and he’s, I’m sure with the doctors and all, trying to come up with a game plan as far as easing back into it. We’ll talk again in Texas and then again in Oakland and then have something off of what Eric wants to do.”
As you may have seen from the photo on the opposite page, former Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox all-star Chet Lemon, who coached Brad Miller in his “Juice” program in the Orlando area, made the trip down tonight to see his former pupil play firsthand. Miller has said Lemon is his greatest influence in baseball. Lemon, 58, has battled health issues linked to a blood disease for over 20 years and is said to not like being in crowds much.
He told me down on the field moments ago that he hasn’t been to a game at Tropicana Field since about 2003 or 2004. But after Miller hit two home runs in the series opener, then had that two-run triple last night, he wanted to be here firsthand to see him play.
Across the way in the Rays clubhouse, the Tampa Zoo brought a special visitor to meet the players — a 20-foot-long python. Rays outfielder Luke Scott got a real kick out of the snake. Scott, an avid hunter, keeps a boar’s head in his locker (yes, he shot it). So, Scott went and got the head and stuck it in front of the snake to see if it would, um…”bite”? It did not.
But it did wrap itself a big around the neck area of Rays reliever Fernando Rodney, no doubt spawning a few fantasies among disgruntled Tigers fans who remember some of his exploits as a closer in Detroit. There were four handlers around watching the snake’s every move, so no one was in any danger. We think.