In his first on-the-record interview since a stroke July 22 sent him to the hospital, manager Eric Wedge said Sunday he expects a complete recovery and hopes to be back in the dugout after the Mariners return from a nine-game road trip.
“I expect a 100 percent recovery,” Wedge told team broadcaster Rick Rizzs in a pre-game radio interview on ESPN 710. “Physically I am fine. Mentally, I have been fine throughout. It is just about making sure I am not in harm’s way anymore. That is the number one thing because obviously, if something like this happens again, I don’t think I will be as lucky.”
Wedge, 45 and a former major league catcher, had to be helped from the field and was rushed to the hospital, where he spent three days that included recovering movement in his arms and legs. He said the stroke location was his brain stem.
“When that took me over in batting practice that one day, it put me in the position where I really couldn’t move or do anything for a couple days,” he said. “Then the swelling went down and things started to lighten up for me. I still have some pressure in my head, but nowhere near what it was before.”
Wedge returned home to rest and begin to regain stamina. His third visit to Safeco was Sunday.
“I feel great,” he said. “I have had two or three doctor’s appointments every day since this has happened, just working to get myself back on track.”
Wedge must pass several tests before he will be permitted to return, including being cleared to resume air travel. He thinks that is possible when the team returns from its nine-game road trip Aug. 23, a month after the stroke.
“It has been one of the toughest things I have ever had to go through, most of all not being here,” he said. “You talk about August and September, that’s when you separate the men from the boys, and you want to be there to help lead that. You have got to play tension-free but there has to be a sense of urgency right along with that. That’s the line we are trying to walk here.”
Wedge showed up after two brutal losses to Milwaukee and held a closed-door meeting with the coaches and then talked to players individually in the clubhouse.
“I am just making sure I stay in touch with them as much as I can,” he said. “I miss them so much and want to be here. It’s such a critical time. Robby is doing a great job as well as the rest of the staff. The players are hanging in there and fighting.
“I talked to them about staying aggressive and taking the game to them. We have always been our best when we have that energy and attitude and aggressiveness out and play offensive. Even when you are on the mound or playing defense, you still want to be an offensive club.”