More than a week after his latest false start, Franklin Gutierrez is expected to finally begin his injury rehabilitation assignment with Class AAA Tacoma. He is scheduled to play the field, then the team will see how he feels.
No timetable has been placed on a Gutierrez return, but safe to say the team would like to see him get at least most of September in. Gutierrez hasn’t played since being beaned in the head by a pickoff throw in the final days of June.
He was expected to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Everett last week, but that was shelved at the last minute when he began experiencing more headaches. Gutierrez met with team medical staff this week, had his medication changed and the headaches are no longer recurring when he does baseball-related activities.
Gutierrez is not going to be a DH right off the bat, which is usually what teams do with guys who are starting injury rehab stints. I asked manager Eric Wedge whether that was because the team has some urgency to get back on the field in the majors and whether the approach would be different if we were still in June or July.
Wedge said no, that isn’t the case. He said Gutierrez is ready to play the field now and the team is not going to hold him back.
Fair enough. We’ll see what happens next.
Casper Wells is in the lineup tonight. I know that a lot of you have been asking me about Wells and why he isn’t playing.
I asked Wedge whether it was performance related and Wedge said that yes, it is. The last time Wells played, he went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts on Tuesday against the Rays before being lifted for pinch-hitter Chone Figgins in a ninth-inning comeback.
Wedge said that with Trayvon Robinson “seeing the ball better” than last year and playing well, he wanted to give him more playing time. The Mariners are also taking a look at Eric Thames in right field, so that’s another spot Wells could be in.
But as Wedge said, it’s about performance at this stage and Wells isn’t producing when given more full-time chances. Wedge still plans to use Wells against left-handed pitchers when he can — as is the case tonight — but beyond that, his opportunities will be limited unless he starts hitting more when he does play.
13 Dustin Ackley (L) 2B
12 Trayvon Robinson (S) LF
63 Jesus Montero C
30 Miguel Olivo DH
15 Kyle Seager (L) 3B
17 Justin Smoak (S) 1B
33 Casper Wells RF
55 Michael Saunders (L) CF
26 Brendan Ryan SS
38 Jason Vargas LHP