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THE DAILY ROLL

<  Shannon Drayer

Eric Wedge visits Mariners before Sunday's game

By Shannon Drayer

The Mariners got a very welcome surprise Sunday morning. They were told that there would be a brief, closed-door meeting before they took the field for batting practice. No one was sure what the meeting was about but soon realized when they saw a familiar face walk into the clubhouse. Six days after suffering a mild stroke on the field, manager Eric Wedge had come by to check on his team.

"He came in and said hello to the boys," acting manager Robby Thompson said minutes after the meeting. "He looks great. They saw him, he's doing well, walking good, talking, the whole thing. Big smile on his face. He'll be back soon. He is doing really, really well."

Thompson had spent a couple of hours with Wedge and his family Saturday night, and the two of them decided that a visit from the skipper would be good for the team.

"It was good for the guys to see that he is doing fine, and he's not laying in bed and has other issues or what have you," Thompson said. "He walked in, was as proud and strong and tall as Eric always is. It was good for the guys to see. Really good visit."

The visit helps put any questions, doubts or worries the players might have out of their minds before they head to Boston and Baltimore. One person who was in the room said that Wedge was very animated in his conversations with individuals and that was great to see.

"Everyone could see that he is doing well, no worries before we left to go on the road trip. I thought it was great timing on his part," Thompson said.

It is still not clear when Wedge will be able to return to the club, but Thompson said he expects it to be sooner rather than later. He also said that while Wedge has been watching the games and talking with him on a daily basis, he knows that his recovery comes first right now.

"It was serious," he said. "He knows that and he knows that he has to stay away until he is strong and ready, and they will decide when that right time to come back is."

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