Wedge delivers annual kickoff speech at camp

PEORIA, Ariz. -- With the entire Mariners squad now in camp, manager Eric Wedge gathered his troops on Saturday morning for his annual season-opening chat before sending them out on the field for the first full-squad workout of the spring.

Wedge is known to deliver a pretty strong message as he speaks from the heart about what he considers important in the way players prepare and conduct themselves and how they should respect the game and their teammates.

"There's a little difference [each year], but the same general message," said third baseman Kyle Seager. "His goals and wants for us haven't changed. He expects the same thing from us and expects us to do the right things and perform as well as we can. He gets you ready to work, that's for sure."

Wedge said this is a different team and different clubhouse in his third year at the helm, so his message reflects some changes. But he has his core beliefs that always are part of the opening talk.

"I felt I said what I needed to say," he said. "I spent some time talking to them about what we know is important about being a Seattle Mariner and what our expectations are and where we feel we're at.

"Ultimately it's about a group of young people that have gained experience at the big league level and young people that are here for the first time and then you have your veterans we brought in. I like the diversity of it. You look at our 61 guys in camp, I feel we could match up with anybody in regard to the quality of ballplayers in our camp as a whole."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.