Mariners manager Eric Wedge has been away from the team since he suffered a minor stroke on July 22, but he’s getting closer to returning to his post.
According to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, Mariners interim manager Robby Thompson confirmed today that Wedge will be back in uniform when the team returns home to take on the Angels this Friday. While he might be eased back into his managerial duties, that’s wonderful news.
“We’ve talked and he will be back,” Thompson said. “In what capacity, or easing into it, we’ll talk tomorrow and then I’ll probably see him maybe on the off-day and then we’ll get a game plan together. But he will be back in uniform on Friday.”
The Mariners have gone 11-14 during Wedge’s absence and began play tonight at 57-66 on the year.
The Red Sox signed catcher Christian Vazquez to a three-year, $13.55 million extension, per a team announcement on Saturday. The agreement will keep Vazquez under contract through the 2021 season and covers two years of arbitration eligibility and the catcher’s first year of free agency. It comes with a $7 million club option (and $250,000 buyout) for 2022 that could get bumped up to $8 million if he reaches 502 plate appearances in both 2020 and 2021. Vazquez has also volunteered to make an annual donation to the Red Sox Foundation as part of his new arrangement with the club.
The 27-year-old backstop is entering his fourth year with the Red Sox in 2018. He’s been a steady defender behind the dish over the last three years and was ranked fifth-best in defense among all American League catchers at the end of the 2017 season. He also enjoyed a breakout performance at the plate, slashing a career-best .290/.330/.404 with five home runs and a .735 OPS in 345 plate appearances.
Come Opening Day, Vazquez is expected to be the Red Sox’ primary option behind the plate, with veteran Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart poised to start in backup roles. Swihart is out of options, but has been groomed for a utility role this spring and could take a few reps in the left field and the infield corners if need be, as it doesn’t appear the club is prepared to trade him just yet.