ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Mariners manager Eric Wedge could rejoin the team after this trip.
That was the word Thursday from interim manager Robby Thompson, who has maintained regular contact with Wedge since the team left Seattle. Wedge hasn’t managed since suffering a mild stroke on July 21.
“He’s feeling much better and there’s a real good chance that he will join us when we get back (to Seattle),’’ Thompson said. “That’s kind of where it stands right now. I’m not 100 percent sure on that, but that’s kind of what we’re hoping.
“He sounds great. Each and every day, he’s feeling better. He’s following all the rules and guidelines of what he should be doing.”
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General manager Jack Zduriencik had previously said he wanted Wedge back in full managerial capacity once he returned to the dugout. But Thompson seemed to suggest it was possible Wedge could be eased back in to his job.
Lemon, Miller reunited
Former three-time all-star Chet Lemon drove from his Orlando-area home to see his former summer-league player, Mariners shortstop Brad Miller, in the series finale against the Rays on Thursday.
Miller has called Lemon his biggest influence in baseball. Miller played for the former Detroit Tigers outfielder’s “Juice” team of 18-and-under prospects.
Lemon, 58, has battled a blood disease for more than 20 years and nearly lost his life to it on a handful of occasions. His health and an aversion to crowds kept him from attending games at Tropicana Field for nearly 10 years.
Miller and Lemon hugged warmly on the field during batting practice. Justin Smoak, who played for Lemon on an all-America team, also came over for a chat.
• The Rays got a surprise pregame clubhouse visit, courtesy of the Tampa Zoo. A 20-foot-long python was brought in, accompanied by four zoo handlers.
Rays OF Luke Scott, an avid hunter, has a boar’s head trophy in his locker and brought it over to see whether the snake would react. It didn’t, but it did begin to wrap itself around the neck of relief pitcher Fernando Rodney. Handlers ensured the snake didn’t go any further.
• A report by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says Mariners SS Brendan Ryan is one of several major leaguers who have cleared waivers and can be traded to any team. Ryan has played only sporadically since losing his starting job in June to rookie Miller. MLB teams have until Aug. 31 to trade players and have them eligible for postseason play after they pass through waivers first.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.