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.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.