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April 11, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Gutierrez back in Seattle, Wilson back in lineup

A few reunions here tonight at Safeco Field as Don Wakamatsu is back in town as bench coach of the visiting Blue Jays, Jack Wilson back in the lineup, and Franklin Gutierrez back in Seattle.
Wakamatsu, however, has told everyone he does not plan to talk to reporters on the record, so don’t expect much from him.
Gutierrez, meanwhile, held court with reporters and said that he is beginning to feel better from the stomach ailment that has him currently on the disabled list — officially diagnosed during the spring as a slow digestive tract.
Gutierrez said there is no change in his diagnosis but that he is simply beginning to feel better and has begun to put back on some of the 15 pounds he lost.
“Can you imagine feeing bad every day and every meal?,” he said. “Not easy, not easy at all, fighting with the food that you are liking not able to (eat) anything. It’s a huge relief right now to feel better and that’s the most important thing.”
He stayed behind in Arizona after spring training but returned to Seattle Monday and will work out with the Mariners the next three days and then will likely head to Tacoma for a rehab stint.
Where it will go from there, however, remains somewhat unclear.
“We’ll let him work out here the next three days and decide what we are going to do from there,” said Mariner manager Eric Wedge said. “I don’t think we can predetermine anything right now. The first thing we have to do is put our eyes on him for the first time, have more extended conversation with him, spend extended time with him and go from there.”
Wedge said the team will have to assess where Gutierrez is physically, as well as his mindset, saying “he’s been beaten up a little bit so just want to see where he is at overall.”
Gutierrez said he has been able to eat consistently for a few days now, mentioning mostly some further changes in his diet as the reason, and said he thinks he is on the road to recovery.
“There is a lot of difference,” he said. “I feel much better. The doctors are doing a good job because now I’ve been able to eat, so that was a concern for me. Before I couldn’t eat at all. But now I can eat and get energy back and my strength and I’m just anxious to come here and play.”
As for Wilson, Wedge said he met with the Mariners’ second baseman again on Sunday and said that the incident in Texas last week — when Wilson pulled himself from a game after making two errors — is in the past.

“We had another conversation yesterday and that’s it,” Wedge said. “That’s the end of it. I don’t hold grudges — never have, never will, don’t believe in them. The coaches are here for the players and it’s just one of those bumps in the road that you work through, handle as best as you can and you learn from it and you are a little bit wiser for the wear. He will be better for it, the team will be better for it and it’s time for him to get back in there playing.”
Asked if the Wilson situation was a chance for him to show how he plans to manage, Wedge said: “The way I handle things is just that — the way I handle things. I made it very clear in spring training in regard to what I expect, respect for the game, being a good teammate and the way we approach the game and what our expectations are and being accountable and responsible and everything that goes along with that. I said that and I say’ll it now — I don’t say one thing and forget about it the next day the next week or next year or five years from now. If I say it today it stands true. Everything that happens is a case-by-case basis or situation. But ultimately everything that I do is for these players and the Seattle Mariners organization and this big league club. So it’s my job to make sure there is a sense of urgency today but also to make sure we are taking care of tomorrow as well.”
Wedge also gave something of a vote of confidence for his team going forward, saying that despite the seven-game losing streak this is a different team from the one that lost 101 games in 2010.
“It’s a different season without a doubt,” he said. “And if they (the players) don’t recognize that then they are not seeing everything for what it is. You have tough stretches and it’s always magnified early on, but again we have to recognize where we are. I’m not looking for moral victories, but we are a two-out hit, a play or a pitch away from winning more than losing some of these ballgames that we have had. So what we need to do is continue to work to get better and if you don’t recognize it yet (the media), trust me, sooner than later you will recognize that this is a different year.”
Also, closer David Aardsma, trying to get back from off-season hip surgery, did some work before the game and could have a simulated game this week. “He’s making progress and he feels good,” Wedge said.
Here is Seattle’s lineup for tonight:
Ichiro, CF
Chone Figgings, 3B
Milton Bradley, LF
Jack Cust, DH
Justin Smoak, 1B
Miguel Olivo, C
Michael Saunders, CF
Brendan Ryan, SS
Jack Wilson, 2B
Felix Hernandez, P
And here is Toronto’s
Yunel Escobar, SS
Corey Pattrson, CF
Jose Bautista, RF
Adam Lind, 1B
Aaron Hill, 2B
J.P. Arencibia, C
Travis Snider, LF
Edwin Encarnacion, DH
Jayson Nix, 3B
Jesse Litsch, P

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