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Wedge: Mariners headed in positive direction

Wedge: Mariners headed in positive direction

Wedge: Mariners headed in positive direction play video for Wedge: Mariners headed in positive direction

SEATTLE -- As manager Eric Wedge prepared for his final game with the Mariners on Sunday, he was in a reflective mood, touching on a number of positive things he sees in the club's future even as he heads in a new direction.

Wedge isn't certain of that new direction just yet, having just announced Friday that he wouldn't return to the club next year. But he says he'll remain in Seattle for now as he awaits his next opportunity.

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"We've got the kids in school, so we'll hang around here for awhile and just see how everything shakes out," he said prior to Sunday's finale with the A's. "I'm not sure what I'm going to do just yet. I've made it very clear I want to manage again, and I hope I have that opportunity at some point in time. So we'll look at that first and go from there.

"And there are other things I want to do as well, so we'll see how it all plays out. But there's no reason to jump out of here. This is our home. This is where we live and our kids go to school. So we'll see how it plays out and go from there."

Wedge reiterated again that his health is fine and he's fully recovered from a midseason stroke that sidelined him for 27 games. That issue had nothing to do with his decision not to return, and he spoke Saturday of a differing vision with upper management that led to his departure.

But on his final day, the 45-year-old skipper spun a far more positive outlook on things.

"The encouraging thing here for the fans is, they've got to look at all the close losses and late-inning losses and see we were right there," Wedge said of a club that went 19-29 in one-run games and 6-15 in extra innings. "It's a pitch or play or at-bat that is the difference. But the experience they gained this year is really going to come back to them."

Wedge believes the pitching staff is on the verge of special things, though he'd advocate bringing in another veteran starter behind Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma if possible.

"I'm a little uncomfortable talking about it now, but I still feel like that's the right thing to do," he said. "It depends on their budget, of course, and I totally understand that. But I think with the top two and you go get another legitimate piece and then you've got those younger kids fighting for just two spots. That's a pretty good situation to be in."

As for the offense? The Mariners increased their power -- hitting their most home runs since 2000 -- but didn't take as big a step forward with the bats as hoped.

"With [Franklin] Gutierrez and [Michael] Morse, those were tough losses for us," Wedge said. "We were really counting on them. We saw what they were capable of in Spring Training, and even when they did play a little, they were pretty good for the most part. Again, it's the young core group continuing to make strides.

"I think one thing the fans have to look forward to next year is the fact all these kids will be there from the outset. That's pretty exciting, with all the experience from this year. Those are all positives."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.

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