Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wedge Storms, Won't Take Ackley's Name In Vain

All that was missing from Mariners manager Eric Wedge's tirade was Dustin Ackley's name,  but he hardly needed to say it.

"I sure as hell am not going to continue watching this!"  Wedge warned reporters after his team upset western division rival Los Angeles but could only scratch out three runs against an unusually wobbly Jeff Weaver in the shutout.  "We are going to get better and we are going to do everything that we possibly can to get better."

Wedge's focus was his 25-man roster,  particularly the performances of  outfielders Michael Saunders and others,  whose efforts have left the team ranked 29th out of 30 in major league hitting. But how far away can an offensive infusion from Triple A Tacoma be  if Wedge is serious about his declaration that "we need something?"

Ackley, 21, a second base prospect relegated to Tacoma after a mediocre spring,  started out slowly this year as evidenced by his .280 overall  average.  But he has begun pounding on the door more recently,  going 19-41 for a .463 average with a bag, eight RBI and two homers over his last 10 games.

The No. 2 overall 2009 pick,  sometimes described as a left-handed version of all-time hits leader Pete Rose, was named the Arizona Fall League's most valuable player last year after hitting .315.  He projects as a high-average competitor with gap power,  but his glove is thought to lag behind his bat.

Fans and other observers are looking for his arrival sometime after the start of the super-2 arbitration clock,  which this year may occur during the first or second week of June,  but Wedge has refused to say much about the time for his callup.

Super 2 or no super 2,  the team claims Ackley's arrival has nothing to do with salary arbitration eligibility.  Little wonder;  Ackley's agent is Scott Boros,  whose track record suggests he will balk at Ackley signing an early contract extension under any circumstances.