Wedge explains why Guti, Ryan aren’t in lineup
Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez wasn’t in the Mariners starting lineup for the fifth time in the past seven days on Friday and manager Eric Wedge said he’s continuing to deal with the same leg issue that has hindered him since Spring Training.
Gutierrez started nine of the Mariners’ first 11 games and came off the bench in the other two, but he’s been limited to just two starts and one late-inning relief appearance in seven games since.
“We’re still trying to help him with his lower half,” Wedge said before Friday’s series opener with the Rangers. “I think it stems from his hips, where he gets a little out of line and that’s what affects his legs. He didn’t feel very good yesterday. He feels better today, so we’ll see how his [pregame] work goes out here and go from there.”
Health issues aren’t new for Gutierrez, who had four different stints on the disabled list over the past two seasons when he played just 132 of the 324 games. Wedge acknowledged it makes for a difficult situation, not knowing his availability on a consistent basis.
“We’re trying to manage it,” Wedge said. “It’s tough. But I talked to him again today. We’ll just keep communicating with him, the trainers keep working on him and we’re hopeful we can get on the good side of this.”
Shortstop Brendan Ryan also wasn’t in the lineup, but for a different reason. Ryan is just 2-for-28 over his last 10 games as his average has plummeted to .167 after a good start.
“He should be our best bunter,” said Wedge. “He’s got to get the bunt down. We just need him to turn the corner. We’ve talked about it before. He gets in his own way too much. He has to get beyond that somehow.”
Thus Robert Andino started Friday, even though the veteran utility infielder is hitting just .154 himself (4-for-26 even after going 2-for-3 on Thursday when he started at third base for Kyle Seager.
“I want to get Robert in there a little more,” Wedge said. “He did some things yesterday and Ryan has had his struggles. So I’m just trying to put the best team out there right now. To help get Robert on track, we’ve got to play him a little more.”