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April 21, 2013 at 11:13 AM

Franklin Gutierrez could go on DL next week if legs don’t heal fast enough

Mariners manager Eric Wedge told us this morning that Franklin Gutierrez is not in the lineup because he doesn’t want to risk using him on consecutive days just yet.

“It’s just a process of trying to help him get over the hump,” Wedge said. “I mean, if we play him again today, it’s going to be another step back. If we give him today, then hopefully we can start pulling back-to-back days with him. That would be the plan.”

Now, remember, with Michael Saunders due to come off the DL as early as next Friday, the Mariners will have some tough decisions to make. Wedge has already said he can’t envision carrying six outfielders and putting Endy Chavez on waivers in order to outright him to the minors would be a risk move.

Chavez is the only other MLB-capable center fielder the organization has right now other than Saunders and Gutierrez. So, that would leave DFA of either Raul Ibanez or Jason Bay.

Or, there’s another option: sending Gutierrez to the disabled list.

This morning, I asked Wedge whether Gutierrez to the DL was a possibility.

“If this keeps up, down the road it is,” Wedge said. “We’re trying to avoid that, but if it keeps up, that would be our only other option.”

Wedge didn’t want to speculate about making the move as early as this coming week. After all, the team isn’t certain yet exactly when Saunders will be ready.

But if there was an appropriate time to put Gutierrez on the DL and fix his leg problems once and for all, then the day Saunders comes back would be the perfect time and spare the team from cutting a veteran if it really isn’t certain about that move just yet.

Speaking of veterans, Wedge is clearly getting a bit anxious waiting for some of his older players to step up their games. He said Michael Morse is still working back from that broken finger and that it’s normal he’d struggle with his timing while easing back in.

But Kendrys Morales hasn’t done much for a while. Bay has not looked all that good at the plate, though his fielding has been OK.

And Ibanez, as mentioned, has seen his play regress as he’s used more often than expected.

I asked Wedge about some of the younger players and how much rope he’d be willing to give them before Class AAA is considered. You’ll remember, Chone Figgins got about a month last year and though I’d expect the younger players to get more like six weeks to show something, you just never know.

Wedge said there is a different timetable for the younger guys like Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak and Jesus Montero.

“Well, I think there is because they’re on the climb,” he said. “With Figgy it was kind of one last chance after a couple of other last chances that he’d already had. And the focus shouldn’t be on the young players right now. The focus, if any, should be on the veterans. They’re the ones that are supposed to be leading the way. It’s easy to pick on the young players but everybody’s accountable for this.”

0 Comments | More in injuries | Topics: franklin gutierrez; michael saunders; disabled list; eric wedge

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