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Originally published Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 9:06 PM

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Eric Wedge clarifies his criticism of sabermetrics | Mariners notebook

Wedge apologized to those he may have offended, saying that he had heard all day about the heated response to his comments.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Mariners manager Eric Wedge on Wednesday elaborated on his remarks about sabermetrics that resulted in criticism from some corners.

On Monday, after Dustin Ackley was sent down, Wedge was asked about players who have become too passive at the plate.

"It's kind of the new generation," he replied. "It's all this sabermetrics stuff, for lack of a better term. You know what I mean? People who haven't played since they were nine years old and think they've got it figured out. It gets in these kids' head."

Wedge apologized to those he may have offended, saying that he had heard all day about the heated response to his comments.

"Hey, I use the numbers as much as anybody," he said. "I used the numbers in Cleveland. And Cleveland was one of the first teams to really dive into it with (then general manager) Mark Shapiro leading the way. So I've always been a big fan of using the numbers.

"But you are talking about one comment, and they weren't there for the entire conversation. We were talking about the mental side of it. We were talking about Ackley. That's not the reason Ackley was having issues at home plate. What I'm talking about is this recent generation of players that has come up in the sabermetrics world. It's something that's out there and people know how important it is.

"What you can't do is play this game with fear. You have to go out there and play, and when you get your first good pitch to take a whack at, you have to take a whack at it. People stress so much getting deeper in counts and drawing walks, it's almost a backward way of looking at it.

"When I bust somebody's chops or make a joke about it, you can take it in a light-hearted way or you can take it personally. Quite frankly, I don't care either way. But the fact of the matter is, sabermetrics is a part of the game of baseball. It has been for a while.

"It's my job to see it from all ways. What people have to see is these are human beings. They are not widgets. It's not XYZ corporation — something out of a book. These are human beings. And that's the thing you have to factor in the most. They have emotions. They have families. You have ups and downs and everything that goes along with it. Things you can't read on a piece of paper. But it's most definitely part of it. I use it each and every day. It's not the end all. It's not just black and white. It's got to be a nice blend between the human factor and the numbers."

Notes

• With Justin Smoak (oblique) and Michael Morse (quad) both temporarily sidelined by injuries, the Mariners augmented their bench by calling up Alex Liddi from Tacoma. Struggling starter Brandon Maurer was optioned to the Triple-A team.

Liddi has played mostly third base this year for the Rainiers (42 games) but also some first (seven games) and has outfield experience in the major leagues. He's hitting .267 with nine homers (tied for the team lead with Mike Zunino) and 37 RBIs (one behind Zunino's team-leading total).

Smoak was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game Wednesday, but pinch hit in the eighth inning.

Morse, meanwhile, stayed back in Seattle for medical treatment and will likely rejoin the team in Minnesota on Friday.

Liddi said he's worked this season on getting his legs into his swing more.

"I'm just more straight and try to go toward the pitcher instead of going back and side to side," he said. "It makes me stay through the ball better and drive it the other way, which is my strength. I'm working on it. Of course, it takes a while. I went through a little slump and then I found it again."

He credited new Tacoma hitting coach Howard Johnson with helping him with the new approach.

"It's something that I kind of knew I had to do," he said. "But I didn't know they way to do it. HoJo introduced me to it. It's been big the work HoJo did with me. I really appreciate the work he did for me."

• Wedge said he knows who will start in Maurer's spot on Sunday but isn't ready to announce it yet. Jeremy Bonderman is the leading candidate.

Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or lstone@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @StoneLarry

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