Franklin Gutierrez isn’t in tonight’s starting lineup for the Mariners. He’s getting a day to re-acclimate himself to being in the majors. Right now, Gutierrez said he feels like he’s about to make his major league debut all over again.
“I’m telling you, I feel great, I feel happy,” he said. “Finally, I’m back and healthy now. It feels like the first time when I got called up. It’s just so exciting to be here again and preparing for the games and trying to help my team.”
Gutierrez admitted it took him some time at Class AAA Tacoma to get his timing at the plate back.
“The first games, I was so off,” he said. “You know how it is when it’s a long time not seeing pitchers. But later on, in the fourth or fifth games, I was hitting some balls right at somebody. I’ve been hitting the ball hard so I think I’m really close to my timing again.”
Gutierrez said he’s using “special tape” on his foot and has not had a serious recurrence on pain from the plantar fasciitis problem that delayed his recovery.
“Obviously, I feel something just after the games because of all the running and all that,” he said. “But the next day it’s gone, so I think I’m good right now.”
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he plans to have Gutierrez out there playing center field shortly.
“He’ll be our center fielder,” Wedge said. “He’s not going to play seven days a week. We’re going to make sure we’re careful with him. My goal is to keep him healthy, which he hasn’t been able to do in a while.
“Obviously, we feel very good about Michael (Saunders) being out in center field as well. But Gut’s, if not the, one of the best center fielders in the game and I think Michael’s been doing nothing but getting better out there as well. So, when they’re both playing, Mike will be in left. That’s a pretty good outfield, I think, when you put those three guys (Ichiro in right field) out there.”
Casper Wells is getting the start in left field tonight. Wells told me he worked hard at staying positive and not getting frustrated during his demotion to Class AAA, something he learned from previous experiences getting bounced around by the Detroit Tigers in that organization.
“First, it’s kind of OK, you feel pretty confident,” he said. “But then, it’s after the first five games or so when you’re kind of settled in there a little bit, you’re off your high horse and you have to settle into routines. That’s when it really gets grinding.
“When you have to really stay positive and have a positive mindset.”
Wells said he tried to spread some of his positive energy to his AAA teammates.
“It’s fun when you have young guys and you know guys are looking up to you and trying to see how you care about your business,” Wells said. “So, you have that extra boost to try to set an example and to be more positive and do the right thing. I think that was important down there. Those guys asked me a lot of questions. Even them asking me questions lets me learn a lot about myself in the way that I answer them.”
RF Will Venable
SS Everth Cabrera
3B Chase Headley
DH Carlos Quentin
LF Mark Kotsay
1B Yonder Alonso
CF Cameron Maybin
C Nick Hundley
2B Alexi Amarista
RHP Jason Marquis
2B Dustin Ackley
3B Kyle Seager
C Jesus Montero
1B Justin Smoak
CF Michael Saunders
DH Josh Jaso
LF Casper Wells
SS Munenori Kawasaki
RHP Hector Noesi