Guti held out Friday with sore neck
Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez was held out of Friday’s series opener against the A’s due to a sore neck after slamming into the wall in Anaheim on Thursday, but says he expects to be back by Saturday.
“I feel good,” Gutierrez said prior to Friday’s game. “It’s just a day off today. I don’t have any headaches or anything. Just a little stiff in my neck, but nothing too bad. I think I’ll be back tomorrow.”
Manager Eric Wedge would like to see Gutierrez in the outfield along with Michael Saunders and Casper Wells to close out the year, but getting all three healthy and available at the same time has been a season-long issue.
“It has been a challenge,” Wedge said. “I was looking forward to seeing it again today, but it didn’t happen. We’ll try again tomorrow. It could be a separator for us, the way those three can play the outfield, with their arms, their coverage and their ability. I think it’s a real good outfield when we’ve got those three out there.”
Gutierrez, 29, has been hampered by injuries the past two years and has played just 38 games this season, hitting .259 with four home runs and 17 RBIs. He opened the year on the disabled list with a partially torn pectoral muscle, then missed another two months after getting a concussion when he was hit in the head by a pickoff throw.
Saunders got hurt in an outfield collision and missed time after Gutierrez’s returned from his concussion, while Wells has been back-and-forth between the Mariners and Triple-A Tacoma as he’s tried to find consistency with his bat.
But Wedge likes Wells’ defense and feels he’s been swinging the bat better of late. So if he can, it sounds like that trio will get the bulk of playing time down the stretch. Wedge said he’d continue playing his regulars in the remaining six games.
Here’s tonight’s lineup against A’s right-hander A.J. Griffin:
Dustin Ackley 2B
Casper Wells RF
Kyle Seager 3B
Jesus Montero DH
John Jaso C
Justin Smoak 1B
Michael Saunders CF
Trayvon Robinson LF
Brendan Ryan SS
Blake Beavan P