CLEVELAND — It wasn’t a typo. On Friday night, Franklin Gutierrez was originally penciled in to be starting in right field for the Tacoma Rainiers in the second game of his rehab stint.
Wet conditions at Cheney Stadium forced Tacoma manager John Stearns to scratch that lineup and put Gutierrez at designated hitter for the night. But in the coming days, you can expect to see Gutierrez playing right field in more than a few games while on his rehab assignment.
“We want him to play some right field as well center field for a couple of reasons,” Wedge said. “One, I think it’s easier to stay healthy if you are playing left field or right field vs. playing in center field. Two, (Michael) Saunders has been great in center field. And three, if he’s not 100 percent, then were better off with him in right field. Now if he’s the Guti of old and 100 percent then of course you want him in center field. He just hasn’t proven he can do that.”
Wedge won’t put a timetable of Gutierrez’s rehab assignment, saying he’s going to work off of him and the strained hamstring recovery. But it isn’t impossible to think Gutierrez could use up all 20 of the allotted days. Wedge isn’t going to bring him back up prematurely
“Like I told you guys and I told him too, I need him to be not just able to play up here, but able to come up here, play every day, steal a base and do some things, otherwise we’ll end up back where we are now,” Wedge said.
Wedge won’t be held hostage by not knowing whether Gutierrez is available when it comes to playing time and making out the lineup.
“It’s tough,” he said. “And the fact of the matter is that we are going to lose a player.”
Endy Chavez would likely be that guy. Chavez would be the odd man out and have to be designated for assignment. Would he be clear waivers? It doesn’t seem likely. The Mariners do have some insurance with veteran Corey Patterson playing center field in Tacoma.
Harang on schedule
Aaron Harang didn’t say much, just giving the two thumbs up. The veteran right-hander threw a bullpen session on Sunday afternoon and will be ready to make his next start on Tuesday in Anaheim against the Angels. Harang was scratched from his previous start in New York with back stiffness.
He saw a chiropractor on Friday in Cleveland, played catch on Saturday and threw the light bullpen session on Sunday.
Had Harang not been able to go, the Mariners would have had to place him on the 15-day disabled list and call up Hector Noesi from Tacoma as a spot starter.
Actor Kevin Costner was at Sunday’s game at Progressive Field. Costner, a former baseball player at Cal State Fullerton, sat in the front row behind the Mariners dugout. He’s in the area filming the movie, “Draft Day” about the general manager of the Cleveland Browns football team trying to save a struggling franchise with the best possible draft pick. … With his fifth-inning single, Justin Smoak extended his streak to 13 straight games reaching base. … This is the Mariners first series loss since April 22-24 against Houston. Since then, they had been 5-0-1 in series. It was the Mariners’ fifth-straight loss at Progressive Field.