SEATTLE – Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez began his long-delayed injury rehabilitation assignment on Saturday night with Triple-A Tacoma.
Gutierrez was to have started his rehab from a head injury last week with short-season Class A Everett. But that was postponed when Gutierrez reported headache problems the night before.
A switch in the medication Gutierrez had been taking for the headaches apparently did the trick this past week and enabled him to work out free of pain. Gutierrez hasn’t played since being beaned on the side of the head by an errant pickoff attempt in late June.
“They just changed up his meds a little bit,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “We’ll probably have him play five innings out in the field. And then we’ll see how he feels. Either give him the day off or let him DH.”
Wedge said Gutierrez is far enough along that he can play the field right away without having to be eased back into it. The Mariners would like to get a look at Gutierrez through a good part of September and then have him play winter ball once the season ends to get an idea of where he fits for next year.
Gutierrez is owed $7.5 million for 2013 with a team option for 2014. The Mariners are looking at several outfielders to see where they fit for 2013, a list that includes Trayvon Robinson, Eric Thames, Casper Wells and Michael Saunders.
Wells has played sporadically since the arrival of Robinson and Thames, and has struggled in the second half.
Seattle’s pitching streak of 42 consecutive batters retired in a row – which ended in the fifth inning on Friday – was the longest in the majors dating back to at least 1947. According to STATS Inc. and Trent McCotter of the Society of American Baseball Research, the Mariners’ streak was two batters longer than the ones that the 1996 Texas Rangers and 1959 Pittsburgh Pirates had put together.