Guti showing increased strength since return
While the Mariners struggled through a 2-4 road trip to Arizona and San Diego, one of the positives emerging is the return of center fielder Franklin Gutierrez.
The 2010 Gold Glove winner went 7-for-19 with two home runs and five RBIs on the trip and is hitting .290 in his first nine games back off the disabled list. Obviously there is considerable caution is pronouncing Gutierrez as being “back” after his lengthy run of health problems, but it’s been encouraging to see him playing well and showing much better power at the plate after last season’s difficulties.
Gutierrez had Sunday off as manager Eric Wedge continues bringing him along by playing about two of every three games, but he’s back in the lineup Monday night against the A’s and is getting close to being ready to play every day.
“I like the way he’s looked,” Wedge said. “We’re obviously being careful with him, but his at-bats have been good, he’s moving around in the outfield, his arm is coming back pretty good. He’s getting more comfortable. We just have to keep ramping him up to where he can play every day.
“But his timing has been pretty good coming back, all things considered. And he’s playing with some strength to his game, which I like, too. It’s been great to see. We just have to work to stay ahead of it because obviously he’s a heckuva player when he’s healthy.”
Here is tonight’s full Mariners lineup against A’s lefty Tommy Milone (7-5, 4.13 ERA):
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Kyle Seager 3B
Jesus Montero DH
Justin Smoak 1B
Michael Saunders LF
Miguel Olivo C
Dustin Ackley 2B
Brendan Ryan SS
Erasmo Ramirez RHP