By John Boyle
Some good news for the beat-up Mariners, Tuesday’s lineup includes outfielders Michael Morse, who suffered a fracture in his pinky finger on Thursday, and Franklin Gutierrez, who missed the past two games with groin tightness.
Gutierrez’s injury was never though to be serious, but with his injury history, anything is enough to make people nervous. Mariners manager Eric Wedge is hoping that two days off, followed by an off day Monday, were enough to get Gutierrez back to full speed. That being said, the plan all along for Gutierrez is to give him periodic days off, especially early in the season, so don’t be alarmed if he sits out again in a few days.
As for Morse, the timeline given after the injury occurred last week was three to seven days, so this return is a pretty quick, but not shocking one.
“Him and Gutierrez, it’s great to have them both back in there,” Wedge said. “Michael had a good workday yesterday and feels good, so he should be ready to go.”
Asked if, short of getting hit in the hand again, Morse was in danger of making things worse by coming back, Wedge said, “I don’t think so. He’s come back pretty quick, and he’s pretty adamant about how he feels, so I think we’re in pretty good shape there staying away from anything freakish.”
One player who won’t be back quite as quickly is reliever Stephen Pryor, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a lat injury.
“We’re going to have to see how it calms down here, but it’s a substantial strain of the lat,” Wedge said. “He’s a big guy. So how long is it going to be? We really don’t know yet. Obviously long enough for him to go on the DL, but we’re probably looking beyond the two weeks as well.”
The Mariners called up right-hander Yoervis Medina from AAA Tacoma to replace Pryor. Medina, 24, had a 1.50 ERA in four relief appearances in Tacoma, striking out seven and walking three in 6.0 innings.
“He made an impression on us this spring, but even more of an impression with how he pitched last winter,” Wedge said. “He was the guy to come up here and fill that role. He’ll be ready to pitch tonight, and obviously we’ll keep a close eye on him being his first time up here, but good for him.”
And one other non-injury note, Wedge was asked about the decision to sit the struggling Jesus Montero for the third time in four games.
“It’s just overall,” Wedge said. “I’m trying to give him a little bit of space too. I like what (Kelly) Shoppach has been doing back there, and I like matching him up with Aaron (Harang) in his first start tonight, I think that’s important. There are different things that go into it each day. He’s still working to be the overall player he needs to be, and I think if you give him a couple of day here and there, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing early in the year.