SEATTLE — Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said Tuesday he’s sticking behind manager Don Wakamatsu for now despite the worst July in franchise history.
Zduriencik and Wakamatsu spoke before Tuesday’s series opener against Texas about the state of the team after the Mariners went 6-22 in July. That effort matched the worst month overall in team history – set in August of the Mariners’ inaugural year of 1977.
“Don is our manager,” Zduriencik said. “Don and I and his son went out to dinner last night. … We talked where we’re headed with the club, about Don and Don is our manager.”
But when asked if Wakamatsu will return for a third season as Mariners manager in 2011, Zduriencik was slightly evasive.
“Everybody is evaluated at all times,” he said. “As we go forward, you have to realize there is always an evaluation process going on at all times.”
The idea of Wakamatsu having a questionable future with the team seemed preposterous at the end of 2009, when the rebuilding Mariners were completing an 85-77 season.
The Mariners were a popular pick to contend in the American League West this season. But Seattle was 28 games under .500 and 221/2 back of division-leading Texas before Tuesday night’s matchup with the Rangers.
“Everything that has come out of my mouth is we want to put a product on the field the fans can respect and we haven’t done that. To point the finger or look at me, they have every right to do that,” Wakamatsu said.
Besides the embarrassing results on the field, Seattle also has had a couple of clubhouse issues.
Ken Griffey Jr.’s sudden retirement in June came after he started just once in his final 12 games before walking away. Wakamatsu also got into a heated dugout argument with Chone Figgins during Seattle’s last homestand after Figgins was pulled midway through a game.