Mariners manager Eric Wedge has been away from the team since suffering a minor stroke on July 22, but interim manager Robby Thompson said yesterday that Wedge is close to returning.
Thompson told Greg Johns of MLB.com that Wedge is hoping to return during the next homestand, which begins on August 23:
He’s doing really good. He’s doing outstanding. I talked to him yesterday. He’s passing everything with flying colors, he’s feeling much better. And there’s a real good chance that he’ll rejoin us when we get back. That’s kind of where it stands right now.
Seattle is 9-12 with Thompson filling in as manager and it sounds like he may continue to take on an expanded role once Wedge does return.
Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.
The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.
The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.