Updated Apr 26, 2012 - 4:08 pm
Wedge on vets and how long he'll give them to settle in
Eric Wedge has shown patience with his veterans early, something he believes is absolutely necessary with this team, but today he said there is a limit to how far he will go with them. Last night we got a glimpse at what could be with Dustin Ackley leading off in place of Chone Figgins, who was given his first day off of the season. There is little doubt Ackley possesses the skills to lead off but the Mariners have a leadoff hitter, for now.
"I like him in the leadoff spot," Wedge said of Ackley. "Maybe that's where he ends up. We are still giving Figgins opportunity but he has to do it. Simple as that. If he does he will keep being in there, if not we will make a change."
Wedge is concerned about Figgins' 21 strikeouts in particular.
"I don't know where they are coming from," he said. "I didn't see that one coming. From what I saw this spring and early on he's a guy who had the ability to foul off pitches when he needed to, did a good job with two strikes fighting through at-bats. Right now there is a lot of swing and miss. That is something he has to rectify, no doubt."
Wedge stressed that he hopes Figgins pulls through his current struggle. He liked what he saw early with him and as I said above, he believes the limited veteran presence on the team is crucial to its development.
"You have got to have veteran presence," he asserted. "It is enough on the kids already. We don't have a 30 and 100 guy in the lineup here that the kids can always count on them coming to the ballpark. These kids have to count on themselves."
Why not just run the kids out there and let them count on themselves?
"To fully put it on the kids, it will get in the way of their production, of their development, literally," he answered. "It will take them longer to get there if we don't have that and I know that for a fact. That's why you have to have that. Because they will take on too much themselves."
Wedge has been in this situation before. He knows that the day in, day out management of young players involves more than the numbers, more than just putting them in the lineup every day to get them experience.
"We are all human beings," he said. "That is the human factor. That's what I think a lot of people fail to understand. These guys aren't robots, they are human beings with hearts and brains. You have got to balance that."
One veteran who has been under fire with many of the fans is Miguel Olivo. While it's not reflected in the numbers, Wedge sees progress with the approach he has asked Olivo to take.
"He's starting to get going a little bit," he said. "That is a powerful bat. There is some impact in that bat and we don't have a lot of that. He just missed a couple last night and he did a nice job with two strikes, one for a hit and one the kid made a nice play up the middle. That's why you want to give it some time."
While Olivo is given time Jesus Montero continues to progress. Wedge feels he will be an everyday catcher one day but there is no target date for that transition.
"I don't know how that is going to play out. I am going to trust my feel with that," he said.
"For this guy to be an everyday guy, which I think he is very capable of being ultimately, he has got a hell of a lot of work ahead of him to get to that point," Wedge continued. "He is not ready for that yet but I think if we stay on this path we will be in good shape. But how I navigate through is going to depend on him."
How he navigates through all 25 on the roster will depend on them. Everyone gets time to settle in but no one should get comfortable.
"It is a balancing act with the young kids and trying to give these guys some space but I can tell you the space for the veterans is not endless," Wedge said.
"We still have to give it some space though."
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