SEATTLE -- Mariners manager Eric Wedge has been with his team from Spring Training to Japan and finally back stateside. But despite all that time with the players and the numerous opportunities to see different combinations on the field and in the batting order, setting the starting lineup each day isn't as simple as it may seem.
One of the keys to putting together a lineup is if the opposing pitcher is right-handed or left-handed. If a righty is on the mound, Wedge will start more lefty batters, and vice versa for lefty pitchers. But that's just one factor.
"Early on in the year, you're going to have to play more lineups -- especially when you have a young team, especially when you come out [of] Spring Training," Wedge said. "Also to make sure these guys get in there, you play them all spring and then they're not playing for a while."
The lineup isn't something Wedge starts thinking about when he arrives at the ballpark each day, either. The process begins immediately after the previous day's game. Sometimes, Wedge will finalize it before he goes home for the night. But other times, he'll sleep on it and make the decision when he arrives at the park in the morning.
The positive to waiting until the morning is Wedge has more time to evaluate players mentally and physically, as he did for Sunday's game against the A's.
"When I put the lineup together," Wedge said, "it's a combination of the numbers, plus feel, plus where they are health-wise, plus where they are mentally."