Gutierrez improving, plus today’s lineups

Manager Eric Wedge said the team is waiting word on one final test on Franklin Gutierrez, but he expects the Gold Glove center fielder to begin playing a few innings in Minor League games in Arizona by this weekend if all continues to go well.

Gutierrez is eligible to come off the Disabled List on Thursday, but obviously that’s not going to happen. However, Wedge sounded semi-optimistic about his progress and indicated he could begin getting some limited game action soon.

The skipper offered no sort of expectation on how long it would take Gutierrez to get ready for a return to the Mariners, however.

Meanwhile, the lineup got a slight change today with Adam Kennedy making his first start at second base and Jack Wilson sliding back to shortstop. The plan all along has been to play those three in the two middle infield positions, so getting Kennedy in the lineup should be no surprise, especially with a right-hander on the mound.

Wilson hasn’t played shortstop since getting the news late in Spring Training that he’d be the second baseman, so he took ground balls there early today and said it actually did feel a little different being back on the other side of the bag.

“It’s kind of turn back the clock day,” Wilson said with a grin.

For Wedge, the time is right today as Brendan Ryan has gotten off to a slow start at the plate (1 for 12) and could use a day to relax. Ryan says he just hasn’t gotten many fastballs to hit and is adjusting to the way American League pitchers seem to throw more offspeed stuff, but 12 at-bats admittedly isn’t much of a time frame to judge anything.

More than anything, Wedge wants to get Kennedy some action and keep his bench sharp coming out of spring.

Wedge said Adam Moore will catch tomorrow in order to give Miguel Olivo two days off in a row — tomorrow and then the Thursday off day — before the home opener Friday in Seattle.

Here’s today’s batting order:

Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chone Figgins 3B
Milton Bradley LF
Jack Cust DH
Justin Smoak 1B
Miguel Olivo C
Adam Kennedy 2B
Jack Wilson SS
Michael Saunders CF
Michael Pineda P

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