Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, who will open the season on the disabled list from a partially torn pectoral muscle, says he is ahead of schedule on his rehab.
“I’m recovering fast,” he said. “I feel good.”
Gutierrez has recently embarked on a throwing program. He said he threw against a wall yesterday and will do so again today. He has also been swinging in the cage. Gutierrez said he has been taking full cuts with no problems. Trainer Rick Griffin said Gutierrez will start to take batting practice on the field this week in addition to throwing.
“These are both good things,” Griffin said.
But Gutierrez does not know exactly when he will be able to advance his rehab to the next step.
“That will be when I have three, four good days in a row,” he said.
Kevin Millwood, meanwhile, was doing a lot of hand-shaking in the clubhouse today with teammates he hadn’t seen for nine days. He stayed back in Peoria while the rest of the ballclub was in Japan. Millwood is starting tonight’s game against the Padres, though he won’t recognize the lineup playing behind him. All the regulars will be dismissed after a short workout so they can continue resting up from the Japan trip.
I asked the 37-year-old Millwood if he thought it was a good decision to stay back. He smiled widely and replied, ” I think it was an awesome decision. I don’t think anyone should second-guess that decision.”
Millwood made a trip to Japan in 1998 on an All-Star tour.
“It was fun, but that was after the season, and I was a lot younger,” he said. “I enjoyed it a lot and it was fun, but I was pretty excited to be able to stay here during that trip.”
Millwood said he watched replays of the two games in Japan at 7 in the morning.
“That part was a little bit weird,” he said. “I was on the team, but I wasn’t there. That was a little different. I think there was enough buildup to it, I was prepared for it. It wasn’t that bad. I thought it was good baseball. I thought both teams played pretty solid and pitched really well. We’d have much rather won both, but to at least get a split is OK.”
Millwood pitched in one minor-league game while the team was gone.
“I did all my sideworks and workouts here,” he said. “I was here every morning. I just wasn’t here for long. But I was able to come in and get all my work done and get prepared for today.”
His schedule from this point is up in the air. Millwood is in the Mariners rotation but doesn’t know when his first start will be.
“I have no idea,” he said. “I know I’m pitching today and that’s the last time I know.”