Robby Thompson hopes to talk with Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge every day while he is filling his duties through Aug. 5.
Thompson talked with Wedge on Thursday morning.
“He’s doing real well,” Thompson said. “He sounded great. He’d just gotten back from one of his therapy things and said it went very well. Obviously those kind of things are going to continue (in) the process of him getting better and moving forward with it. But he sounded really good.”
The subject of how Thompson will manage the team never came up. And unless Thompson has specific questions or needs to relay information, he doesn’t expect their conversations to be all about baseball. They have worked together since 2003, so the conversation will be friend to friend. Wedge isn’t going to micromanage Thompson.
“He basically said he trusts in me and knows what I’m all about,” Thompson said. “Myself and the rest of the staff will piece together our lineup daily. As of late, it’s been pretty easy. The lineup has been fairly steady. … Hopefully that continues. I will definitely be in touch and talk with Eric, pretty close to every day, whether it be on the lineup issue or baseball or just talking and seeing how he’s doing. And I’m sure he’ll want to know how we’re doing and how the players are doing.”
While Thompson serves as the interim manager, he will lean heavily on pitching coach Carl Willis and third base coach Daren Brown, a longtime minor league manager who managed the Mariners the final 50 games of the 2010 season.
“Throughout the course of the years that we’ve been together, I didn’t get involved a whole lot into the pitching side of things with Wedgy and Carl as games were going on as the bench coach,” Thompson said. “But I do listen all the time to what they are talking about and looking at the lineup and matching up and who’s coming up, the left and right matchups and sheets.”
Thompson said his baseball philosophy won’t be much different than what fans have seen from Wedge.
“I think we’re very similar,” Thompson said. “… We don’t try to make things happen or try to get our hands too deep into things. (We let) the game dictate what we need to do, other than what we need to do to make something happen out there.”
Don’t expect to see a bunch of hit-and-run plays or forced steals.
“We let the players play,” Thompson said. “A lot of times there are guys in our lineup that are out there on their own. They may be stealing at times and it’s not coming from over here, it’s coming on them and Mike Brumley at first trying to pick a pitch to go on. But it’s pretty much letting the situation out there on the field dictate what we’re going to do from in here.”
MORSE’S RETURN NEAR
Michael Morse is getting closer to returning to the Mariners.
The outfielder has been on the disabled list with a strained quadriceps since June 22.
“I hear he’s feeling really good,” Thompson said. “I believe he has nine innings in right field in Tacoma (Thursday). So we’ll see how he comes out of that. I talked to him briefly today and he’s (eager to return). He says he feels real good.”
Morse could return this weekend. When he does, the Mariners will face a roster decision. They might have to designate Endy Chavez or Jason Bay for assignment or send Dustin Ackley back to Triple-A Tacoma. Wedge and general manager Jack Zduriencik will likely decide.
“I’m sure Jack and Eric have already spoken on the matter if and when that does happen,” Thompson said. “It will be a really tough roster move.”
NO TV SATURDAY
For the only time this season, Seattle’s game Saturday will be blacked out on local television. The game will start at 1:10 p.m. to help the city with timing on the annual Seafair Torchlight Parade through downtown. Because the time conflicts with the Fox national broadcast, Root Sports is not allowed to televise the game Local radio station 710-AM and the Mariners radio network will carry the game live.
The Mariners will send right-hander Felix Hernandez (11-4, 2.43 ERA) to the mound for Friday night’s start. Minnesota will go with left-hander Scott Diamond (5-9, 5.53 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Root Sports.Ryan Divish: 253-597-8483 ryan.divish@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @RyanDivish