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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, July 09, 2017 11:30 pm

Wedge enjoying visiting home

CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne native Eric Wedge is a quintessential baseball man and is back in the game after being away from it in 2014 and 2015.

He joined Toronto's front office in 2016 as a player development adviser in the Blue Jays' farm system and this year is their field coordinator, which he explained means he's "basically in charge of everything on the field in the minor leagues."

A nice side benefit of Wedge's new role is it allowed him to visit Parkview Field this weekend as Lansing, the Blue Jays' low-A affiliate, took on the TinCaps.

"It's always a pleasure to get back to my hometown," Wedge said. "I love baseball. I love the city of Fort Wayne. It's just a pleasure to see how Fort Wayne has embraced the TinCaps and embraced professional baseball."

A Northrop graduate, Wedge was already living in Buffalo, New York, so he did not have to move his family for the new job because Toronto's Triple-A team is located in the city.

Wedge said he eventually would like to get back to managing in the major leagues. From 2011 to 2013, he was Seattle's manager, a job he took after managing Cleveland from 2003 through 2009.

In the meantime, though, Wedge has a nice gig. His responsibilities include visits to all levels of the Blue Jays' farm system and regular strategy sessions with Gil Kim, the organization's head of player development.

One of Wedge's bosses in Cleveland, Mark Shapiro, is now Toronto's club president, and Wedge also has a relationship with Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins.

"When Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins went to Toronto to head that up, we talked about myself coming over there and being a part of that leadership group," Wedge said. "I've got such tremendous respect for those guys from my days in Cleveland.

"To have a chance to get out there with similar values and try to create a culture, it's a natural transition. To be responsible for eight minor league teams and 200 players and 50 to 60 staff members, it's a great responsibility and something I don't take lightly."