Jack Wilson back in lineup tonight
After spending three games in Eric Wedge’s doghouse, Jack Wilson will be back in the lineup tonight when the Mariners open a three-game set against Toronto at Safeco Field.
Wilson hasn’t played since he took himself out of the game in Texas after committing two errors in the second inning during Felix Hernandez’s last start. Wedge, who has talked from the start of wanting tough, hard-nosed ballplayers, wasn’t happy with that move. Nor was he pleased when Wilson told reporters afterward that he wasn’t hurt in the game, but was taken out because Wedge wanted a more experienced, steadier presence at second base.
Wedge had already told reporters that Wilson left the game because he was “a little hazy” after being undercut on a hard slide by Ian Kinsler after his relay throw on a potential double-play ball sailed wide of first, one play after he’d dropped an easy throw at second from Chone Figgins.
That whole situation was a little cloudy, frankly, with Wilson unaware at the time that Wedge had said he was hazy. Asked if he was hurt, Wilson said no. But asked if he was taken out by the manager, Wilson didn’t answer directly, instead saying Wedge asked him how he was feeling and then chose to go with a more-experienced second baseman in Luis Rodriguez.
As unusual as it is for a player to take himself out, I don’t think Wilson was trying to hurt the team. His confidence was shaken at a position he’s just learning and he took the blame full on — exhibiting accountability in his own mind — for letting Hernandez and his team down. He didn’t want to his on the job experience to come at the cost of the team.
Wedge understandably wasn’t thrilled to have one of his guys ask out of a game when the going got tough and he sent a strong message by benching the veteran Wilson. But it’s worth remembering also that Wilson is not a problem guy and has done everything possible in recent weeks to learn a new position after 10 years at shortstop, even knowing his spot is short-term until Dustin Ackley’s arrival.
From my point of view, Wilson is hardly a troublemaker. Just the opposite. There are some potential problems on this Mariners club and Wilson should not even be on that list. So it’s good Wedge and he are apparently back on the same page now because Wilson deserves to play and the Mariners need a guy who was hitting as well as anybody in their struggling lineup.
Here is the full lineup today:
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chone Figgins 3B
Milton Bradley LF
Jack Cust DH
Justin Smoak 1B
Miguel Olivo C
Michael Saunders CF
Brendan Ryan SS
Jack Wilson 2B
Felix Hernandez P