Saunders, Guti both out of lineup on Wednesday

Michael Saunders worked out under the watchful eye of trainer Rick Griffin this afternoon at Target Field, but the Mariners outfielder was not in the lineup for a fifth straight game for Wednesday night’s battle with the Twins.

Saunders strained his right groin muscle in the collision with right fielder Eric Thames on Friday night in Chicago and the club is being careful not pushing him back too soon.

“I want to be playing games in September,” Saunders said on Tuesday, “so we don’t want to try to rush it.”

Franklin Gutierrez is also not in tonight’s lineup after playing the past two games upon coming off the disabled list. We haven’t had a chance to talk to Eric Wedge yet today, so not certain on his status. But Wedge said Monday that Gutierrez would play the first two games and then be evaluated to see how he was doing.

The thought was he’d likely get a day off here at some point in this four-game series. And with right-hander Samuel Deduno on the mound today, Wedge has chosen to give him this one off so he can be ready to face lefty Brian Duensing in the day game on Thursday.

That puts Chone Figgins in center field tonight. He played there Saturday in Chicago as well, after Saunders got hurt and before Gutierrez was back with the club.

Here’s the full lineup tonight at 5:10 p.m. PT against Deduno, a 29-year-old rookie who took his first Major League loss 10 days ago in Seattle when he gave up two runs and five hits in six innings in a game the Mariners went on to win 5-1.

Dustin Ackley 2B
Trayvon Robinson LF
Kyle Seager 3B
John Jaso DH
Justin Smoak 1B
Eric Thames RF
Miguel Olivo C
Chone Figgins CF
Munenori Kawasaki SS

Jason Vargas LHP

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