By Ryan Divish The News Tribune
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Franklin Gutierrez didn’t know if he was allergic to bees. But he wasn’t going to stick around to find out.
With hundreds of bees swarming near him in right field, the Mariners outfielder couldn’t wait for Felix Hernandez to get another out to finish the inning.
Instead, he called time and headed for cover.
“I just ran away,” Gutierrez said. “I saw they were coming. That was scary right there.”
Hernandez, who saw Gutierrez swatting at them and then heading toward the infield, recognized the issue and ran toward third base.
“I told (the Angels) I was going into their dugout and their clubhouse if they kept coming,” Hernandez said.
For about 23 minutes, the game at Angels Park was delayed because of bees. It’s not often games are stopped because of excessive insects.
“I’ve never seen bees like that,” said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. “I’ve had my share of instances with other bugs, but never bees.”
Wedge was managing the Indians during 2007 American League division series when game 2 had to be stopped late in the game because of a swarm of insects.
“Never with a swarm of bees,” Wedge said. “I couldn’t see them at first. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. We’re lucky nobody got stung.”
An unidentified Angels fan, who was sitting in the suite level and familiar with bee infestations, went on to the field with something in a bucket and armed with a broom. He stood amidst the swarms and brought the bees to him. He walked off the field and most of the bees followed him. A good portion of them also piled up on the ground in right field where he had been standing. The man was also later seen behind the wall on a ladder in center field removing a branch with an apparent hive on it.
Play resumed for an inning, but it was stopped again when Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun saw the pile of bees on the ground. A grounds crew member came and blasted the pile of bees on the ground with a fire extinguisher.
In a mild coincidence, the Angels’ Class AAA team in Salt Lake is nicknamed the bees.
Starting pitchers announced
Wedge announced his starting pitchers for the first three games of the upcoming home stand. The Mariners host the Royals today with Brandon Maurer on the mound. Rookie left-hander James Paxton will start on Tuesday and Hisashi Iwakuma will start Wednesday.
There was some internal discussion about whether they should start Iwakuma or shut him down for the season. He’s thrown 211 2/3 innings this season. The original plan was to limit Iwakuma to 210 total innings this year. But that plan changed.
“We talked about it,” Wedge said. “But he wants to pitch. And he’s given us every indication that he’s still strong.”
The rotation for the final three games is up in the air. Wedge said after the game that Hernandez will start Friday night at Safeco Field after looking strong on Sunday. The hope is for Erasmo Ramirez to start on Saturday if he’s healthy and either Joe Saunders or James Paxton on Sunday.
Shortstop Brad Miller was out of the starting lineup for another day despite appearing late in Saturday night’s loss. Wedge decided to give Miller, who is recovering from a hamstring strain, another day off to recover. He was available to play if needed. … Ramirez, who left Friday’s game with a tight right groin, ran and played catch before the game. He appears healthy enough to pitch next week. … Abraham Almonte singled to lead off the game. He has reached base safely in all 16 games in which he had a plate appearance to start his career.