Exhibitions over, Wedge turns focus toward A's

Exhibitions over, Wedge turns focus toward A's

Exhibitions over, Wedge turns focus toward A's
TOKYO -- After three days of taking in the sights of Tokyo and performing in numerous Japanese functions, the Mariners must get focused now for Opening Day against the A's on Wednesday.

Two exhibition losses against Japanese teams gave Seattle some acclimation time, but the final two games in Tokyo against Oakland count in the regular-season standings, and that point isn't lost on the Mariners.

Manager Eric Wedge said having Tuesday off -- with only a workout scheduled at Tokyo Dome -- should help.

"It's really important for us to have a buffer before Opening Day to work out some of the kinks and get refocused," Wedge said after Monday's 9-3 loss to the Yomiuri Giants. "It's a completely different atmosphere and a very different couple of days, but regardless, we didn't play very good baseball. That was evident.

"But having said that, we've played pretty good baseball all spring. I trust these guys, I trust what we're doing and their ability. When we turn that switch and get to Opening Day, I'm counting on us being ready to go."

Wedge does have one more off-field engagement before the opener. He and a few players who won't be eligible to play on Wednesday and Thursday will skip the final workout to take a bullet train to Sendai, in the area of last year's tsunami damage, for a youth clinic at Ishinomaki Stadium.

Pitchers Hishashi Iwakuma and Hector Noesi and infielder Alex Liddi will also make the trip, as none will be among the 25 players who'll be designated for use in the two A's games.

Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley and George Sherrill took part in a four-hour tour of a U.S. Army base south of Tokyo on Monday. Munenori Kawasaki and Michael Saunders attended an autograph session at the MLB Cafe in Tokyo as well.

All the players have been touring the city and seeing the sights as they get this unique opportunity.

"I respect the fact that these guys want to go out and we want them to go out and be a part of the community and visit places and see people that they need to see," Wedge said. "We've got guys going out every day doing things. It's still the exhibition season, but it is different. It's obviously ramped up a little bit with everything else going on."