Franklin Gutierrez back with Mariners, feeling healthy
Mariners plan to use Gutierrez in center field, but not every day
Seattle Times staff reporter
Franklin Gutierrez wasn't in the starting lineup Wednesday when he rejoined the Mariners for the first time this season.
Even so, Gutierrez admitted it felt like he was making his major-league debut all over again. Gutierrez missed parts of the past two seasons with a stomach ailment, then tore a pectoral muscle in spring training and had his comeback slowed by plantar fasciitis in his heel.
"Finally, I'm back and healthy now," Gutierrez said. "It feels like the first time when I got called up. It's just so exciting to be here again and preparing for the games and trying to help my team."
The Mariners officially called Gutierrez up from Class AAA on Wednesday along with outfielder Casper Wells, starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez and relief pitcher Steve Delabar. Blake Beavan and Alex Liddi were optioned to AAA, while Mike Carp and Stephen Pryor went on the 15-day disabled list.
Gutierrez now has his foot wrapped in a special brand of tape before each game. He said he hasn't had any excessive pain from the plantar fasciitis while going 8 for 38 in 10 rehabilitation games with Class AAA Tacoma.
"Obviously, I feel something just after the games because of all the running and all that," he said. "But the next day it's gone, so I think I'm good right now."
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he gave Gutierrez a day to get himself readjusted to the big leagues again. When Gutierrez does get a start — likely Thursday against the Padres — he'll be in center field, with Michael Saunders moving back to left field.
"He's not going to play seven days a week," Wedge said, adding that Saunders will be in center on nights Gutierrez sits out. "We're going to make sure we're careful with him. My goal is to keep him healthy, which he hasn't been able to do in a while."
A sneak preview
Second-round draft choice Joe DeCarlo was at Safeco Field before the game Wednesday night and took part in batting practice and fielded ground balls at third base and shortstop.
DeCarlo, 18, one of 27 picks signed by the Mariners so far, was drafted by Seattle as a shortstop, but committed to the University of Georgia as a third baseman.
"I don't know what they have in mind for me but I'm just going to keep working hard and see what happens," said DeCarlo, a 6-foot-1, 205-pounder.
DeCarlo is the highest draft choice to sign with the Mariners thus far. Catcher Mike Zunino, the third overall selection, remains unsigned for now.
• Wells started in left field Wednesday and made a nice running catch in foul territory in the third inning. He said he learned from his experiences in the Detroit Tigers system that a positive attitude is key to surviving any demotion to the minors. "First, it's kind of OK, you feel pretty confident," said Wells, sent to AAA three weeks ago. "But then, it's after the first five games or so when you're kind of settled in there a little bit, you're off your high horse and you have to settle into routines. That's when it really gets grinding. When you have to really stay positive and have a positive mindset."
• Ramirez is to start Thursday against the Padres instead of Kevin Millwood, who gets bumped back two days to Saturday. Millwood is coming off a mild groin strain and said he felt better after playing long toss Wednesday.
• Wedge said that Beavan, who lasted just two innings in a defeat Sunday, has to work on developing better secondary pitches besides his fastball. "I think he learned a great deal here in the short period of time he was here last year and this year," Wedge said. "But he needs to really finish himself off down there. We've seen what he's capable of doing with his fastball command. I mean, he's pretty good when he's on with that. But the secondary stuff needs to continue to come as something he can draw from on a regular basis. Whether it be ahead in the count or behind in the count."
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @gbakermariners