BY John Hickey 06:22PM 04/08/2011

Wilson’s ‘unspeakable’ exit leaves Wedge fuming

Second baseman’s self-removal after two errors irks manager

Jack Wilson took himself out of Wednesday's game; manager Eric Wedge wasn't happy about it. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Opening Night is supposed to be a feel-good experience.

Winter is over; spring is here, summer is on the way. Let’s all have a good time . . . y’know?

It didn’t work out that way for Jack Wilson, the Mariner starting second baseman, who looked at the lineup Friday afternoon to discover he’s on the bench for the first time this year. Reserve Adam Kennedy was the starter.

Much worse than that is manager Eric Wedge is upset with Wilson, who reportedly was taken out of Wednesday’s game in Texas after two innings.

Asked about it before Friday’s home opener, Wedge said that Wilson wasn’t removed from the game because he was “hazy,’’ as the manager said after Wednesday’s game.

“He took himself out of the game,’’ Wedge told a large group of reporters in the dugout. “He didn’t feel like he could go back out there.’’

Wedge said a player taking himself out of a game was “unspeakable.’’

Wilson, a lifelong shortstop who made the conversion to second base so that Brendan Ryan could be the regular shortstop in Seattle this year, made errors on two consecutive plays in the bottom of the second, costing Seattle a couple of unearned runs. He dropped one throw; he caught another, but threw the ball away while attempting a double play.

And Texas base runner Ian Kinsler slid into him hard.

Asked about the self-removal after the Mariners’ pregame workout, Wilson admitted that after the errors, he felt he was more a liability than an asset.

“It was one of those things you hate  . . . when you get somebody out there who knows what they’re doing,’’ Wilson said, talking about how his replacement, Luis Rodriguez, offered starting pitcher Felix Hernandez more support. “I still have a lot of work to do and get comfortable with it and obviously didn’t look too comfortable. The things I did cost us the game. I take a lot of pride in doing the things we need to do to win games; at that point I felt it was best (to leave).

“The last thing I want to do is pull myself out of the game. Knowing going into it those were big (potential) double plays in a big spot. I came out and said,  ‘I don’t want to do any more damage.’ This is something I’m learning and I’m still going to work hard doing it.

“It’s a pretty big cost to lose a game especially with a Cy Young guy on the mound and just not getting it done for him. At that point, I said, ‘You know what? Let’s go with somebody who has a little more experience out there … I want to learn this and want to do what’s best for the team, but not if it’s going to mean losing games.”

After Friday’s 12-3 loss to the Indians, Wilson elaborated, taking all of the blame for what happened on himself and suggesting that he would talk to his teammates as the first step in regaining their trust.

“In the big picture, you have to see what you’ve done,” Wilson said. “You let tour team down. That’s the worst thing you can do. I need to earn their trust. I’ll probably talk to them at some point.”

Wilson said after the Wednesday game that he’d been taken out of the game, and Wedge didn’t much like reading that.

“I tried to protect Jack when I said he was hazy,’’ Wedge said. “I did not take him out of the game. He took himself out.’’

Asked what he feels about a player taking himself out of a game for any non-injury reason, Wedge was unusually candid.

“It’s unspeakable to me,’’ the manager said.

It was almost unspeakable to general manager Jack Zduriencik, who had not talked to Wilson before the game but who had talked to Wedge Wednesday and Friday about the situation.

“Eric was disappointed in how things worked,’’ Zduriencik told sportspressnw.com.

Asked if this in some way impacted the viability of continuing to carry Wilson on the roster, Zduriencik, caught off-guard by Wedge’s comments to reporters, took a pregnant-and-a-half pause before answering.

“I’d like to hold off saying anything,’’ the general manager said. “I haven’t spoken to Jack, and to be fair, I would like to speak to Jack.’’ Moments later Zduriencik sought out Wedge and they talked quietly on the infield grass.

While those words don’t exactly spell out “see you later,’’ Wednesday’s events don’t do anything for Wilson’s longevity. He’s due $5 million this year, the last year of his contract, and the Mariners have one of their brightest prospects, 2009 No. 2 draft pick Dustin Ackley, being groomed as the second baseman of the future.

The time frame for having Ackley in the big leagues is sometime this summer, but that could be moved up if Wilson isn’t going to have Wedge’s full faith and trust.

Later, in a group session with the media, Zduriencik said that he hoped Wedge and Wilson would be able to work it out without his having to send the pair to neutral corners.

“Eric is the manager, and he’s in charge,’’ Zduriencik said. “He’s free to handle it the way he sees fit. I’ll talk to Jack if that’s needed, but the easiest way of handling something like this if to work it out internally.

“But I will say accountability is important.’’

Asked what it would take for Wilson to get back in Wedge’s good graces, Wedge said he didn’t know.

But he did mention he had others who could play the position in Kennedy and Rodriguez. He pointedly didn’t mention Wilson.

Wilson, however, is hoping he can return.

“It’s a pretty tough thing,’’ Wilson said. “I’m doing the best I can, obviously. I haven’t been able to play a lot of baseball in the last year and I want to be out there 100 percent, but not if it’s going to cost us anything. So, it’s a pretty tough pill to swallow, but at that point I knew that was the right thing for me to do.

“I’m just going to keep doing the hard work that I can to get better. That’s the only thing I can do. It’s going to take some work, but at the same time, it’s coming in early, doing the double plays, doing the turns, doing everything I can so that doesn’t happen again, until that’s crisp, until I’m confident enough to do that, I’m probably going to be sitting down watching somebody else.’’

He was sitting down Friday,

Twitter: @JHickey3


YourThoughts

  • http://drpullen.com/strepthroatcontagious/ strep throat contagious

    I think Jack Wilson is headed somewhere else, let’s hope someone in the National League needs a shortstop really badly and will carry his contract.