If you notice, Dustin Ackley is not in the line-up in the outfield, which has caused a fair amount of indignation on Twitter. Then again, six weeks ago everyone Twitter demanded that Ackley be shipped to Tacoma and that he was a bust. A week ago, everyone wanted to know why Ackley wasn’t going to be called up. And now people on Twitter are ready to fire Mariners manager Eric Wedge because Ackley isn’t in the line-up today. Twitter is a very weird place.
There are legitimate reasons why Wedge could be let go. But not playing Ackley in THIS game today isn’t a fireable offense.
Admittedly it was surprising not to see Ackley in the line-up. So why isn’t he playing?
Well, with the Mariners not taking early batting practice on the field, Ackley wouldn’t get any defensive work in the Safeco Field outfield, fielding fly balls off the bat of hitters. Since he arrived at Safeco after BP yesterday, he didn’t get to do it either.
Wedge decided he wanted to let Ackley have a full pregame leading into the game.
“I thought about it long and hard,” Wedge said. “I didn’t want to send him out there for his first game on a day game after a night game when he doesn’t get a chance to get out there and get the reps here, which he’s really never done here. I just feel like we’d be pushing a bad play. I just want him to have a chance to work out there.”
It’s understandable. Ackley has never taken flyballs in Safeco Field. And not all outfields are the same. In fact, Michael Saunders has said that Safeco might be one of the toughest places to play in all of baseball with it’s huge area. Also it’s a day game, the roof will be open and that causes some issues.
Look, Ackley will get his fair share of time in the outfield. I think ideally Wedge would like to start him in left field, which doesn’t carry quite the responsibilities of center field. Wedge wants Ackley’s first game in the outfield to be under optimal conditions and preparation for him to have success, which is understandable.
Ackley will be a available for late pinch hitting duty.