ANAHEIM, Calif. — Franklin Gutierrez didn’t know if he was allergic to bees. But he wasn’t going to stick around to find out. With hundreds of bees swarming near him in right field, the Mariners outfielder couldn’t wait for Felix Hernandez to get another out to get out of the inning.
Instead, he called time and headed for cover.
“I just ran away,” Gutierrez said. “I saw they were coming. That was scary right there.”
Hernandez, who saw Gutierrez swatting at them and then heading toward the infield, recognized the issue and ran toward third base.
“I told (the Angels) I was going into their dugout and their clubhouse if they kept coming,” Hernandez said.
For the better part of 23 minutes, the game at Angels Park was delayed because of bees. It’s not often games are stopped because of excessive insect infestation.
“I’ve never seen bees like that,” said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. “I’ve had my share of instances with other bugs, but never bees.”
Wedge was managing the Indians during 2007 American League Division Series when Game 2 had to be stopped late in the game because a swarm of midges.
“Never with a swarm of bees,” Wedge said. “I couldn’t see them at first. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. We’re lucky nobody got stung.”
An unidentified Angels fan, who was sitting in the suite level and apparently was familiar with bee infestation, went onto the field with something in a bucket and armed with a broom. He stood amid the swarms and the bees came to him. He walked off the field, and most of the bees followed him. A good portion of them also piled up on the ground in right field where he had been standing. The man was also later seen behind the wall on a ladder in center field removing a branch with an apparent hive on it.
Play resumed for an inning, but it was stopped again when Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun saw the pile of bees on the ground. A grounds crew member came and blasted the bees with a fire extinguisher.
In a mild coincidence, the Angels’ Triple A team in Salt Lake is nicknamed the Bees.
HERNANDEZ, IWAKUMA TO MAKE ONE FINAL START
Wedge announced his starting pitchers for the first three games of the upcoming homestand. The Mariners host the Royals starting Monday, with Brandon Maurer on the mound. Rookie left-hander James Paxton will start Tuesday, and Hisashi Iwakuma will start Wednesday.
There was some internal discussion about whether they should start Iwakuma or shut him down for the season. He’s thrown 2112/3 innings this season. The original plan a few weeks ago was not to have Iwakuma exceed 210 total innings pitched this year. But that plan has changed.
“We talked about it,” Wedge said. “But he wants to pitch. And he’s given us every indication that he’s still strong.”
The rotation for the final three games is up in the air. Wedge said after the game that Hernandez will start Friday night at Safeco Field after looking strong on Sunday. The hope is for Erasmo Ramirez to start Saturday if he’s healthy and either Joe Saunders or Paxton on Sunday.
Shortstop Brad Miller was out of the starting line-up for another day despite appearing late in Saturday night’s loss. Wedge decided to give Miller, who is recovering from a hamstring strain, another day off. But he was available to play if needed as a substitute. … Ramirez, who left Friday’s game with a tight right groin, ran and played catch before the game. He appears healthy enough to pitch this week. … Abraham Almonte singled to lead off the game. He has reached base safely in all 16 of his games with a plate appearance to start his career.
Mauer (4-8, 6.95 ERA) gets the start for Seattle against the Royals’ hard-throwing rookie right-hander Yordano Ventura (0-0, 1.59), who will be making the second start of his career. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Root Sports and 710-AM.Ryan Divish: 253-597-8483 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @RyanDivish