The questions tossed at Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge this morning were about his team's offense, some of the individual players who have struggled in 2012, and the future of the organization.
"It doesn't show in the numbers, but I see indicators - (Dustin) Ackley getting on top of the ball more - that (Justin) Smoak, Ackley, (Michael) Saunders and (Jesus) Montero are going to be good big-league hitters," Wedge said.
Wedge said he also likes what he's seeen of infielder Carlos Triunfel, sees young players trying to take on leadership roles since Ichiro Suzuki departed and that the Mariners will send virtually every player on their roster home with explicit instructions on what to do before spring training.
"It's not just me, now. These kids recognize what they need to do to compete at this level, what they have to work on," Wedge said. "But we'll talk to each of them about what we want, whether it's to work on fundamentals or physical changes we want."
Smoak, for instance, was asked to lose weight last year and came in leaner. This fall, he'll be asked to get stronger.
"Saunders has always been a complete-player in ability, and this season he's shown that, whether it's his stolen bases (23), his home runs (19) or the beginning of a leadership role in the clubhouse," Wedge said. "He'll get better because he's seen what hard work can do."
Wedge also produced this lineup:
Franklin Gutierrez CFCasper Wells RFKyle Seager 3BJesus Montero CJustin Smoak 1BMichael Saunders LFMiguel Olivo DHCarlos Triunfel 2BBrendan Ryan SSErasmo Ramirez RHP