SEATTLE -- It got real deep with manager Eric Wedge in the dugout before Saturday's game against Texas.
Well, sort of. The skipper didn't divulge any juicy secrets about himself, but he did discuss what this season has been like for him as a manager and what he's looking for next year.
The first-year Seattle skipper has already been through another rebuilding phase when managing Cleveland from 2003-09. The 43-year-old says it's been a similar experience, but also one with several differences.
For one, he's had to start from the ground up with Seattle. When he started with Cleveland, he had been promoted from Triple-A Buffalo, the affiliate Wedge had been managing for two years.
So when he took the reins in Cleveland, Wedge was already familiar with many of the young players and the organization in general. During his first season in the Emerald City, it's been different.
"With them understanding what I'm looking for and what we're looking for, that's been more of a learning curve," Wedge said. "Whereas over there, they had a pretty good idea of what I was all about.
"And not just one game itself. The intangibles. The way you carry yourself, what's expected of you, what I expect of them, accountability -- all that."
One change Wedge has made this year is letting go a little bit.
"I've held back a lot this year just to watch, just to pay attention and watch these guys and see how they react and what they do and what they don't do," Wedge said.
It's been tough to do that, he said, but it's all part of the so-called rebuilding process.
"I respect the game so much and I just know it's a process," Wedge said. "Some people talk about that word being all-encompassing. Well, that's the best word for it. That's why you use it. It's not copping out -- it is a process to ultimately build a championship-caliber team. If you shortcut it, try to speed it up, it'll bite you in the [butt] every time."
Within that process, there is a fine line to walk in terms of dealing with young players and their accountability combined with wavering confidence.
"It's a sport of failure," Wedge said. "You got to be a strong person to look in mirror and just say, 'Hey, I'm not getting it done right now,' but still maintain the level of confidence. That's the catch: to be able to be completely honest with yourself, but still maintain a level of confidence that allows you to go out there and perform. That's the fine line."
Overall this season, Wedge said he's been happy about how his players have shown up every day and gotten after it. He says there are pieces on the team now that he knows he can count on for next season.
"I think there will still be a few question marks," Wedge said. "But I have a much better understanding of our players, where we are at the organizational level with different individuals and different areas with depth, or lack of."
Mariners contemplate shutting down Figgins
SEATTLE -- To return or not return, that is the question.
Manager Eric Wedge and third baseman Chone Figgins had a long talk on Friday about whether Figgins will return this season, and an announcement from Wedge should come in the next few days.
"He's going to really get after it in pregame, doing everything," Wedge said before Saturday's game against Texas. "We're going to know here in the next couple of days whether or not he can come back and play or if we're just going to shut him down."
Figgins hasn't played since Aug. 1 and was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to the Sept. 4 game at Oakland. His hip flexor that he strained appears to be healing well, but it remains to be seen whether he'll play another game this season. He has played in 81 games and is batting .188.
Meanwhile, Justin Smoak is still day to day with a mild right groin strain, which is "getting better," Smoak said. He left in the third inning of Wednesday's 2-1 win over New York and missed Friday's 4-0 win over Texas.
"He is still pretty sore and still getting worked on," Wedge said. "We'll try again tomorrow."
Reliever Dan Cortes will miss the rest of the season after fracturing a bone in his right hand in an off-field incident on Thursday. He should be able to prepare for and play in winter ball as planned.
The local chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America handed out its annual awards just before Saturday's game.
The Player of the Year award went to Dustin Ackley, who made his debut on June 17 and entered Saturday hitting a team-high .285.
The Pitcher of the Year went to Felix Hernandez. The defending American League Cy Young winner is 14-12 with a 3.30 ERA.
The Unsung Hero award went to shortstop Brendan Ryan.
Taylor Soper is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.