Saunders still out, but Gutierrez close to returning

We’ve got some heavy rain falling in Chicago as game time approaches here at U.S. Cellular Field, so not looking good to get this game with the White Sox going by its 11:10 a.m. PT start time. But we did meet with Eric Wedge pregame and there is a little news to report.

Michael Saunders remains sidelined again today, out a second straight game with a sore groin muscle from his Friday collision with Eric Thames. Saunders hopes to return by Monday’s series opener in Minnesota, but Wedge said Franklin Gutierrez is also close to rejoining the club.

Gutierrez has been on the disabled list for eight weeks with a concussion. He played his seventh rehab game with Triple-A Tacoma on Saturday and went 1-for-3 with a walk and run scored. He’s hit .333 with seven RBIs and two home runs with the Rainiers and hasn’t had any further headaches or setbacks.

“I think he’s close to heading our way,” Wedge said. “He felt good again last night. We’re going to talk further about it today, but I think he’s getting close.”

Gutierrez has played just 13 games this season after missing the first several months of the season with a partially torn pectoral muscle. He was playing well when he finally got healthy, batting .267 two home runs and nine RBIs in 45 at-bats while playing his usual outstanding defense.

But the 2010 Gold Glove winner was hit in the head with a pickoff throw to first base by Boston’s Franklin Morales on June 28 and has been sidelined ever since.

Here’s today’s lineup, if we ever get this one going:

Dustin Ackley 2B
Trayvon Robinson LF
Kyle Seager 3B
John Jaso C
Jesus Montero DH
Eric Thames RF
Justin Smoak 1B
Casper Wells CF
Brendan Ryan SS

Kevin Millwood RHP

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