CLEVELAND — It wasn’t a typo.
On Friday night, Franklin Gutierrez originally was penciled in to start in right field for the Tacoma Rainiers in the second game of his rehab stint.
Wet conditions at Cheney Stadium caused Tacoma manager John Stearns to scratch that lineup and put Gutierrez at designated hitter. But in the coming days, you can expect to see him playing right field in more than a few games while on his rehab assignment.
“We want him to play some right field as well as center field for a couple of reasons,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “One, I think it’s easier to stay healthy if you are playing left field or right field vs. playing in center field. Two, (Michael) Saunders has been great in center field. And three, if he’s not 100 percent (healthy), then we’re better off with him in right field. Now if he’s the Guti of old and 100 percent, then of course you want him in center field. He just hasn’t proven he can do that.”
Wedge won’t put a timetable on Gutierrez’s return from injury, saying he would work off him and the strained hamstring recovery. But it isn’t impossible to think Gutierrez could use all 20 of the allotted days. Wedge won’t prematurely bring him back.
“Like I told you guys, and I told him, too, I need him to be not just able to play up here, but able to come up here, play every day, steal a base and do some things,” Wedge said. “Otherwise we’ll end up back where we are now.”
Wedge won’t be held hostage by not knowing whether Gutierrez is available when it comes to playing time and making out the lineup.
“It’s tough,” he said. “And the fact of the matter is that we are going to lose a player.”
Endy Chavez likely would be the guy designated for assignment. Would he clear waivers? It doesn’t seem likely. The Mariners have some insurance with veteran Corey Patterson playing center field in Tacoma.
HARANG ON SCHEDULE
Right-hander Aaron Harang threw a bullpen session Sunday afternoon and will be ready to make his next start Tuesday in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels.
Harang was scratched from his previous start in New York because of back stiffness. He saw a chiropractor Friday in Cleveland, played catch Saturday and threw the light bullpen session Sunday.
Had Harang not been able to go, the Mariners would have had to place him on the 15-day disabled list and call up Hector Noesi from Tacoma as a spot starter.
Actor Kevin Costner was at Sunday’s game at Progressive Field. Costner sat in the front row behind the Mariners’ dugout. He’s in the area filming the movie “Draft Day” about the general manager of the Cleveland Browns football team trying to save a struggling franchise with the best possible draft pick. … With his fifth-inning single, Justin Smoak extended his streak to 13 consecutive games reaching base. … This is the Mariners’ first series loss since April 22-24 against Houston. Until Sunday, they were 5-0-1 in series since the Houston loss. The Mariners have lost five consecutive games at Progressive Field.
The Mariners wrap up the four-game series in Cleveland on Monday with right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (5-1, 1.84 ERA) on the mound. The Indians will go with left-hander Scott Kazmir (2-2, 5.33). First pitch is set for 9:05 a.m.ryan.divish@ thenewstribune.com 253-597-8483