By Ryan Divish The News Tribune
SEATTLE — Robby Thompson hopes to talk with manager Eric Wedge everyday while he is filling his duties for the next week and a half.
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 as the process of him getting better and moving forward with it. But he sounded really good.”
But the subject of how Thompson will manage the team never came up in the dicussion. And unless Thompson has a specific question or is just relaying information, he doesn’t expect their conversations to be completely about baseball.
“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 each and every day, with maybe a change here or there. Hopefully that continues. I will definitely be in touch and talk with Eric, pretty close to everyday, 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 for decisions related to the starting pitcher and bullpen and on third base coach Daren Brown, a longtime minor league manager, for other aspects.
“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,” he 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 beliefs in baseball leadership and philosophy won’t be much different than what Mariners fans have seen from Wedge.
“I think we’re very similar,” Thompson said. “It’s not a micro-managing thing. We don’t try to make things happen or try to get our hands too deep into things. It’s pretty much the same philosophy on letting 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’re not a huge hit-and-run team,” Thompson said. “We let the players play. 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 nears return
Michael Morse is getting closer to returning to the Mariners. Morse has been on the disabled list with a strained quadriceps muscle 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 champing at the bit. He says he feels real good.”
Morse could even be back sometime this weekend.
When Morse does come back, the Mariners will have to make a roster decision to make room. They might have to designate Endy Chavez or Jason Bay for assignment or send Dustin Ackley back down to Class AAA Tacoma. It’s something Wedge and general manager Jack Zduriencik will likely determine.
“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 television Saturday
For the only time this season, Saturday’s Mariners game won’t be available on local television in any capacity. The game is being held at 1:10 p.m. in cooperation with the city of Seattle to assist with the Seafair Torchlight Parade which goes through downtown later that night. Because the time is in the Fox national broadcast window, Root Sports is not allowed to televise the game. Local radio station 710-AM and the Mariners radio network will carry the game live.