August 15, 2013 at 3:18 PM
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.”
August 14, 2013 at 3:11 PM
Quite the fun aftermath of last night’s two-homer performance by Brad Miller. He did it, of course, with his own cheering section from Windemere, Fla. sitting in the stands. Miller said he knew of between 40 and 60 family members and friends at the game, but I met up with his father, Steve, afterwards and he told me there were about 200 folks who made the two-hour trip down.
They were all seated in the same section behind the visitors’ dugout last night and erupted with loud noise each time Miller connected. Afterwards, they remained behind and chatted with Miller, who stayed on the field to meet with them long after his teammates had left.
Back at the team hotel, about five minutes’ drive from here, it was a celebratory evening. The Miller clan more or less comandeered a good part of the sprawling hotel bar area, convincing staff to keep the kitchen open, then ordering food and drinks for many of their close friends who joined them. Some of them wore “Miller Time” t-shirts with the No. 5 on them. Miller moved around from group to group, chatting with some of his younger friends as well as those his parents’ age.
This wasn’t some obnxious, overdone reverie. Just a group of people happy to see one another, caught up in the moment and almost disbelieving what they had just witnessed.
A replay of the team’s entire game was showing on the bar’s television sets and the group stopped and cheered at one point as the replay of Miller’s first home run was shown. So, a fun and memorable night for all. Miller’s dad seemed to be soaking it all in, beaming with pride for his son and just in awe of what had transpired. He retold the story to me of how he and Brad had driven to Tropicana Field in 2006 and saw Ben Zobrist hit his first career home run.
Zobrist, of course, hit his 100th and 101st homers last night, joining Miller in a bit of history as only the third group of opposing leadoff men to hit multiple homers in the same game.
August 13, 2013 at 3:05 PM
There’s a new coach in the ranks tonight as former big leaguer Chris Woodward, a roving minor league infield instructor with the Mariners, has joined the squad for this series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Woodward has a home not far from here in Safety Harbor, Fla., where his family spends much of its time.
When the team heard Woodward would be stopping by his home between roving assignments, they figured now was a good time for him to be here.
“It will be good to see some of the guys I was working with down there,” Woodward said.
Two of those guys — shortstop Brad Miller and infielder Nick Franklin — have had some recent struggles. Now seems like a good time for a fresh set of eyes to get a look at the pair and help with any suggestions.
August 1, 2013 at 3:03 PM
Mariners relief pitcher Danny Farquhar made his major league debut at Fenway Park while playing for the Blue Jays on Sept. 13, 2011. He gave up four runs — three earned — on three hits and two walks and was sporting an ERA of 40.50 by the time his two-thirds of an inning were done.
Last night went a little better for him. Farquhar tossed three scoreless innings and struck out four batters. And a big key to that, he said, was throwing inside to hitters.
“I’m a guy that, (throwing) away is a very safe part of the zone,” Farquhar said. “But if you live away, they are going to hit you hard. They’re just going to sit away.”
Farquhar said he and 41-year-old catcher Henry Blanco had “a good talk” about the value of throwing inside more often.
“He was like ‘Man, with your stuff you need to start pounding hitters in’,” said Farquhar, who had been going through a rough patch at the time. “And I really took it to heart and started applying it. I think a lot of my success is due to Henry talking to me.”
I asked Farquhar whether he’d been throwing in on hitters before and had maybe just forgotten? Or, whether this truly is a new element to his game.
“It was mostly just kind of going along with what’s comfortale for me,” he said. “Instead of making a conscious effort to make hitters uncomfortable in the box. But the talk really woke me up.’
Farquhar had already been hearing from pitching coach Carl Willis and bullpen coach Jamie Navarro about using all of his pitches more to keep hitters off-balance. This added one, he said, is merely the latest weapon he has to use to keep hitters off-balance.
July 30, 2013 at 1:38 PM
We’re having a gorgeous day here in Boston, with temperatures in the low 80s and sunny skies as we get set to open this series at Fenway Park. Michael Morse is feeling warm and sunny as wella, as he’ll finally take the field — literally, the outfield — tonight for the first time in two months. Morse has been limited to 11 games of DH, first base and pinch-hit duty since injuring his quad muscle back on May 28.
Tonight, he’s in right field, batting sixth.
“It’s good to be back,” he said. “The guys have been playing great, it’s been fun to watch and now I get a chance to be a part of it.”
July 22, 2013 at 6:01 PM
Mariners manager Eric Wedge was taken to a hospital not long ago after his players had to help him from the field, down the dugout steps and into the cluhouse. Wedge, 44, was watching the team take batting practice when he was apparently overcome by dizzy spells.
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said there were two team physicians on-hand to examine Wedge at the ballpark. Zduriencik said Wedge appeared to be feeling better but was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
“He’s fine, he’s being evaluated by our doctors,” Zduriencik said. “Everything is good, looks real good. What we’re doing is, we’re going to be very cautious about this and he’s going to get checked tonight. We’ll run him up to the hospital just to make sure we cover all of our bases. But he’s talking well, he’s fine and everything seems to be normal.”
July 13, 2013 at 5:47 PM
Mariners catcher Mike Zunino has hit just .235 since arriving in the big leagues. But considering he’s playing about six days out of every seven, the Mariners will gladly take that total.
Zunino has shown an ability to play every day without his skills diminishing. We didn’t always see that last year with Jesus Montero or John Jaso.
“I like what I see,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “He’s handled all the pitchers fine, he’s thrown the ball well, blocks the ball very well, works hard. He’s getting a better feel for our pitchers in regard to calling a game. And he’s getting experience to the league. Those are all positives.”
As for the difference between Zunino and Montero and Jaso before him, Wedge said: “I don’t think they were conditioned like Mike is. That’s the thing. Being conditioned to play every day. He is.”
So far, Zunino has thrown out two of nine would-be base-stealers — including Mike Trout last night — for a 22 percent success rate that is just below the league average of 25 percent. But there are more to the numbers than just those, something that hints at a possible deterrent effect.
July 9, 2013 at 5:31 PM
Mike Carp isn’t in tonight’s lineup for the Boston Red Sox after getting the start last night against Felix Hernandez and going 1-for-4 with a single off his former Mariners teammate. After an injury-derailed 2012 season with the Mariners, Carp was cut loose in a last-minute trade for cash on the eve of spring training.
He has since managed to land a spot with a first-place Boston club as a jack-of-all-trades bench player, being used in the outfield, at first base, DH and as a pinch-hitter depending on who’s pitching and who needs the rest. The reduced playing time seems to suit him, as Carp is hitting .304 with a .362 on-base percentage and .616 slugging mark in 125 at-bats.
“I try to go out there everyday as if I’m playing,” Carp said. “I’ve been an everyday player my whole career. I know what my role is going to be. I might pinch-hit. It might be a week before I see some at-bats. I try not to throw anything away. I’m just going to go out there and though it’s a grind, I’m going to try to do the best I can.”
He likes the whole first place thing, too.
“It’s fun winning ballgames and being able to contribute,” he said.
Last night, he got a firsthand look at the new left field configuration at Safeco Field.
“It was different,” he said. “I had to go out there with (first base coach) Arnie Beyeler and have him hit some balls off the wall and down the line a little bit. It’s different in the corner than it used to be. There’s a little angle now, so I had to play that. It’s different. There are a lot fewer steps to the wall.”
Carp said it was a it tough seeing some of his former teammates here. He got a pretty positive fan reception during batting practice yesterday and upon taking the field.
But he’s moved on.
June 20, 2013 at 5:52 PM
Michael Morse is sitting tonight and Justin Smoak is in the lineup as the first baseman, while birthday boy Kendrys Morales is the DH at age 30.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said today that Morse and Morales are both improving health-wise. In Morse’s case though, he added, the team has to get him ready to play the outfield so that they don’t have to keep sitting one of the three.
On the injury front, Jason Bay said his hamstring feels “ten times” better today. He’s still got to try to run on it tomorrow and then could play Saturday if all goes well.
Bay was asked whether he could pinch-hit and said he didn’t think so.
“If I could guarantee you I could swing and then take it easy, I would,’’ he said with a chuckle.
June 19, 2013 at 6:13 PM
Throw Justin Smoak back into a first base/DH mix that was already crowded for the Mariners and you get…some overcrowding.
That’s why Smoak is on the bench tonight — despite three well-hit balls last night, including a home run — and Michael Morse is at first base. Kendrys Morales is the DH. There’s a lefty on the mound, so the right-handed bats are trumping Smoak’s switch-hitting abilities.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he’s going to give subsequent time off to Morse and some to Morales in order to help them recover from injuries. That means Smoak will get his turn on those days.
But I asked Wedge how it’s going to work once the Morse and Morales injuries are done. In other words, is he going to keep this merry-go-round going between the three with one guy sitting every three days?
“You’ve got to just get Morse into the outfield,” Wedge said. “That’s what we’ve got to try to do. He did some work yesterday. He’s going to do a little more today. For a first day in the outfield yesterday, (trainer) Rick (Griffin) felt pretty good about it. So, it was a good first day.”