Surprise visitor perks up team

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.comJuly 29, 2013 

SEATTLE – For the first time since he left Safeco Field for the hospital July 22 because of what was diagnosed as a mild stroke, Mariners manager Eric Wedge returned.

It was temporary, but positive.

Wedge stopped by the team clubhouse Sunday morning to say hello to the team after discussing the idea with interim manager Robby Thompson on Saturday night.

“He came in and said hello to the boys,” Thompson said. “(We) had a nice little talk with him. He looks great. Seeing the guys was great. Doing well. Walking good. Talking, I mean the whole thing.

“A big smile on his face. Probably tough for him to leave right now. As we all know, he’d probably love to stay here. He’ll be back soon though. He’s doing really, really well. Proud that he came in and said good morning and wanted to show the guys he’s doing well.”

Thompson said there’s still no timeline for Wedge’s return. While he is out, Jeff Datz, who is going through cancer treatment, will remain in the dugout to work with Thompson and Daren Brown will continue as the third base coach.

Wedge, who is watching games on television and listening on radio, will not be on the upcoming six-game trip to the East Coast.

“I think a lot of us were thinking it was more of an update,” Michael Saunders said. “To actually see the big guy come in, address the team, I think it was more about him showing us he was OK. We can be told everything that he’s doing all right, but to actually see him and to see his attitude …

“To see the difference from when he was helped off the field to now, was night and day. It was extremely encouraging, I think a huge moral boost to this team.”

MORSE ON WAY UP?

Michael Morse was originally in the Tacoma Rainiers’ starting lineup Sunday night before being abruptly removed. Morse shook hands with several teammates before leaving batting practice. His rehabilitation assignment for a quad injury appears to be over.

The Mariners did not announce any roster moves Sunday. They will have an interesting decision to make with the big league team to make room for Morse.

Oufielders Endy Chavez and Jason Bay appear to be candidates whom the Mariners could release in order to make room for Morse.

ON TAP

The Mariners will take Monday to travel to the East Coast, where their six-game trip starts Tuesday with the first of three games in Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox before they head to Baltimore. The Mariners will have their top-three starters lined up for the Boston series. Joe Saunders (9-9, 4.48 ERA) will take the mound for Seattle at 4:10 p.m. Tuesday. He’ll be followed by Hisashi Iwakuma on Wednesday and Felix Hernandez on Thursday. The game will be broadcast on Root Sports, 710-AM and 1030-AM.

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @Todd_Dybas

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