It was very crowded and lengthy pregame media session with Eric Wedge in the visiting manager’s office at Yankee Stadium.
Well, the Mariners come in here losers of 15 straight games, and that’s news. It just doesn’t happen all the time.
Justin Smoak, Doug Fister, Mike Carp, Adam Kennedy all answered multiple questions about it.
“I haven’t had that many people interview me since I played with the Mets and had a few big games at spring training,” Carp said. “You just want to make sure you don’t say the wrong thing.”
Strangely only one reporter asked Brendan Ryan – easily the best quote and most thoughtful quote on the team – about it. If the group of 12 reporters would have started asking him questions, he’d still be holding court.
I posted some video above of Wedge answering some questions about it.
As Ryan said to me today, “What more can we really say about it until, we end it.”
Yet, thankfully for us reporters, Ryan still finds things to say.
“Just brutal,” he said.
Let’s get to some more notes …
Chone Figgins was not at the stadium and Wedge said he didn’t know whether he would be available by game time or even make the game. Wedge wouldn’t go into specific reasons for Figgins’ absence.
“I’m not going to speak on it directly,” Wedge said. “It’s a family emergency that he’s dealing with.”
The Mariners coaching staff, specifically pitching coach Carl Willis, watched video of Sunday’s game to see if Michael Pineda was indeed tipping his pitches. Following the loss, Brendan Ryan thought that Red Sox hitters had picked off something that allowed them to know when Pineda would throw a slider. Catcher Miguel Olivo wasn’t quite as certain, but wouldn’t rule out the possibility.
Wedge said the staff didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.
“We always take a look at that,” Wedge said. “Any time you are getting squared up like that early in the ballgame, you take a look at everything. I don’t know if there is too much merit it to that.”
What Willis saw was bad location on those fastballs.
“Carl and I talked about it,” Wedge said. “He was missing some spots. That was probably the case as much as anything.”
On the health front, both Erik Bedard and Shawn Kelley will take another step in their recovery from their respective injuries.
Bedard, who has been on the DL with a sprained knee, has been slotted back into the Mariners rotation and will start on Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays at Safeco Field to open the homestand.
Wedge said that Bedard may have a lower pitch count in his first game back.
“I’m not going to give you a pitch count, but we’ll have to pull him back a little bit,” Wedge said. “But he will be okay though.”
Kelley, who is making his second comeback from offseason elbow surgery, is flying back to the the Northwest tomorrow and will join the Rainiers to begin his another rehab stint.
Wedge wasn’t sure how Rainiers manager Daren Borwn would use Kelley, but he will get in his games.
“He needs to throw,” Wedge said.
I mentioned earlier wondering about Justin Smoak having a thumb issues. Yesterday, after the game we saw him walking around with his right hand all wrapped up with a bag of ice. There’s also the matter of heavily taping his left thumb and wrist.
So what’s bothering his thumbs?
“Blisters,” he said. “There is a blister here and a blister here. There’s been a lot of cage work going on.”
So no thumb injury?
“No thumb injury, just blisters,” he said.
Well, technically that’s true. But later Wedge admitted that Smoak suffered “a zinger” on his right thumb about a month ago.
A zinger is a highly technical baseball term to describe a bruise on the fleshy part between your thumb and index finger. Anyone who has hit with a wooden bat a lot, or taken lots of rounds of batting practice, has experienced the pain of zinger when they get jammed on an inside pitch repeatedly. The problem is that these never really heal. Because all it takes is one hard fastball inside and mistimed swing to aggravate.
But Smoak said his thumbs are fine now.
His left-handed swing? Not so much.
“I’m just trying to get that feel back, especially from the left side,” he said. “I need to get that timing and not feel like I have to speed everything up.”