A week after implying his young team either wasn’t paying attention or was “dumb” – and promising change – Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge tried another approach Friday.
The theme? “Relax.”
“I want these guys to practice the right way – they do – then trust that in the game,” Wedge said. “Just come out here, relax and play baseball.”
The change, in part, may be due to an All-Star break in which Wedge and general manager Jack Zduriencik determined changing the 25-man roster to open the second half wasn’t a practical option.
“We didn’t want to make changes just to make changes,” Wedge said. “It had to be something that would make the player better or the team better. What’s the quicker route for a player – to go down and work it out there or stay here?
“Right now, we let them have the break and we’ll see how they open up the second half.”
Gold Glove center fielder Franklin Gutierrez was cleared to begin physical activity Friday, two weeks after suffering a concussion.
Just not baseball activity.
“Today, I’m going to ride the (stationary) bike,” Gutierrez said. “They want to see how I wake up (today), and if there are no problems, they’ll add a little more work.”
Gutierrez has been limited to 13 games this season by shoulder, foot and head injuries, and he appears a few weeks away from returning to the Seattle roster. Once he’s able to play, Gutierrez will likely join the Tacoma Rainiers for a rehabilitation assignment.
“He’s had a concussion and hasn’t picked up a bat or ball in two weeks,” Wedge said. “He’s going to need some time.”
SEAGER GETS IT DONE
Kyle Seager opened the second half leading his team in RBI (52) and his league in two-out RBI (29).
Andre Ethier leads the majors with 31 two-out RBI, and ex-Mariner and current Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is third in the big leagues with 25 two-out RBI.
Here’s a first-half stat: 44 of Seattle’s 87 games have been decided by two runs or fewer. The Mariners went 10-15 in one-run decisions, 7-12 in two-run decisions. ... With Felix Hernandez, the Mariners lone All-Star, not appearing, it marked the first time since 1986 that a Seattle player did not play in an All-Star game. ... Dustin Ackley batted leadoff Friday for he 29th time this season. In the first 28 games, Seattle’s record was 14-14. ... The Texas Rangers opened the series with a four-game lead in the American League West – the third consecutive season they have led the division entering the second half. ... Mike Zunino, the Florida catcher taken by Seattle with the third pick of the 2012 draft, began his professional career Friday by starting for the Everett AquaSox. He batted fifth and was the designated hitter.
The Mariners will host Texas in a 6:10 p.m. game today that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Yu Darvish (10-5, 3.59 ERA) vs. Felix Hernandez (6-5, 3.13).firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @LarryLaRue