Prescribing a tribute

Brett asked for the interim tag so general manager Dayton Moore won't "have to fire me from the Kansas City Royals'' if things don't work. The Royals led major league teams in scoring in spring training, but the stalled development of first baseman Eric Hosmer and Moustakas has contributed to the heat on manager Ned Yost, who could be the next to go.

Bad timing: The Astros are strongly considering North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran for the first overall pick in the draft. But the Mariners just sent Moran's Tar Heels predecessor, Dustin Ackley, to Triple A.

Ackley had been hailed as a can't-miss hitter after being the second overall pick in the 2009 draft, getting to the big leagues after only 200 minor league games. But a .205 batting average this season had dropped his career average to .237.

"Obviously, we fought for the guy for quite a period of time now," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "We wanted to make it work up here and not have to do that, but ultimately, we didn't feel like we could take it any further."

To clarify: Wedge insists he didn't want to come across as a caveman when he took a widely repeated swipe at sabermetrics in regard to Ackley's stunted development as a hitter.

"It's the new generation,'' Wedge said. "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 9 years old think they have it figured out. It gets in these kids' heads."

Huh? What did he mean by that?

Wedge says he "always has been a big fan of using the numbers'' but believes there's too much of an emphasis on working counts — which, by the way, is exactly what President Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer want to see the Cubs hitters do.

"What you can't do is play this game with fear,'' Wedge said. "You have to go out there, 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 lighthearted way or you can take it personally. Quite frankly, I don't care either way.''

Like Yost, Wedge is on the big leagues' endangered-species list. But you can see why he always has been one of Hawk Harrelson's favorites.

progers@tribune.com

Twitter @ChiTribRogers

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