NEW YORK -- Eric Wedge was in the opposing dugout when Joe Torre experienced what he would call the greatest regret of his managerial career, unable to pull his Yankees off the field when a swarm of Lake Erie midges enveloped Joba Chamberlain during Game 2 of the 2007 American
NEW YORK -- Eric Wedge was in the opposing dugout when Joe Torre experienced what he would call the greatest regret of his managerial career, unable to pull his Yankees off the field when a swarm of Lake Erie midges enveloped Joba Chamberlain during Game 2 of the 2007 American League Division Series.
Then on the way toward winning the AL Manager of the Year Award after guiding the Indians to a division crown, Wedge chuckled on Friday when the memory was presented to him. A decade later, Wedge is aiming to become the next man to inhabit the Yankees' managerial chair, having been the club's second interview of the offseason for its vacancy.
"My biggest concern was to try to get all those midges off our pitcher's neck and whatnot," Wedge recalled, referring to Roberto Hernandez [then known as Fausto Carmona]. "I think the biggest difference in that particular situation, it wasn't bothering him near as much as with [Chamberlain]. That kind of spread to others. Because our guy out there was handling it, it didn't spread to others."
Wedge followed bench coach Rob Thomson, who was interviewed in a six-hour session on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. The 49-year-old Wedge has managed both the Indians and Mariners over his 10-year big league career, compiling a 774-846 record. He is currently employed in an advisory role with the Blue Jays, but he has hoped to return to managing.
"It's something that I knew I wanted to do again at some point in time," Wedge said. "I just wasn't sure when that opportunity might show itself. I'm the field coordinator right now for the Toronto Blue Jays, and I get a lot of enjoyment out of that job and the responsibility that goes along with that. [Managing is] something that I definitely wanted to do at some point down the road."
A .233 hitter in 39 big league games as a catcher for the Red Sox and Rockies from 1991-94, Wedge helmed the Indians from 2003-09, going 561-573 and making the postseason once during his time in Cleveland. He was hired by the Mariners in '11, but he did not crack .500 in three seasons there, compiling a 213-273 record. Wedge suffered a stroke in '13 and declined his option to return.
"In Cleveland, it was more of a rebuild, younger players developing at the big league level and watching them grow from year to year," Wedge said. "That was a lot of fun, to see them have that success and grow together. In Seattle, we were on a similar path. It didn't play out in time with me leaving there, but I learned a great deal from both experiences. I think when you're a big league manager, you've got to handle the good, the bad and the ugly."
Former Yankees Aaron Boone and Jerry Hairston Jr. are also expected to interview for the position, which was vacated when New York decided not to bring back Joe Girardi after the team's elimination in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series. David Cone and John Flaherty are among the other hopefuls who have expressed interest in the post.
Wedge is hoping that he distinguished himself in his interview, describing his demeanor as humble and resilient while saying that he is comfortable working with young ballplayers at the big league level.
"I think you have to be firm, fair and consistent as a manager. I think that's imperative," Wedge said. "I believe in working through each and every day on an even-keeled basis, understanding when it's time to turn up or turn down the volume. … I've always enjoyed coming into New York, I've always enjoyed that it's on a different level here. That's something that I would look forward to being a part of."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.