No pain, quite a gain for Gutierrez
One day after running for the first time in weeks, Gold Glove center fielder Franklin Gutierrez allowed himself to feel like just another player on Thursday.
“No pain, and that’s great,” he said after testing his ailing right heel. “The goal is the same, to get healthy, get back here and help this team win. When I woke up this morning, there was no pain at all.”
That cleared Gutierrez, who hasn’t played a game this season, to run, throw and take batting practice with teammates – something he hadn’t done since spring training.
“I work hard to stay in shape, but sometimes things happen that you cannot control,” Gutierrez said. “The last two years, I haven’t been healthy”
Asked if he occasionally felt like the forgotten man, Gutierrez nodded.
“A little bit because you’re not on the field, you’re not in uniform, you don’t feel like part of the team,” he said.
Now, he is closer than he has been all season. Initially sidelined by a partially torn pectoral muscle – injured while playing catch in camp – Gutierrez was just beginning to play in extended spring games when he developed plantar fasciitis in his right heel.
“I kept running, but it didn’t get better, it got worse,” Gutierrez said. “I haven’t been able to run in the last two, three weeks. I’ve got to go out, get back in shape, get at-bats and get back here.”
The timetable would appear to have Gutierrez returning in late June, but it remains a moving target.
OLIVO IN, CASPER OUT
Miguel Olivo was back in the Seattle Mariners lineup Thursday, about 24 hours after he caught nine innings for the Tacoma Rainiers – in Iowa.
“My flight was delayed by bad weather, so I landed in Seattle about 3:30 a.m.,” Olivo said. “I was here at the park by noon.”
That is Olivo. Love him, dislike him, whatever – the man lives to be at the ballpark working or talking about the game. By mid-afternoon, he’d had a talk with manager Eric Wedge and was in the lineup.
“I told him we were going to work him back slowly, that we still want Jesus Montero and John Jaso to catch, too,” Wedge said. “They’re all going to play. Miguel may be the designated hitter against some lefties if we like the matchup.”
To make room for Olivo on the roster, the Mariners optioned outfielder Casper Wells to Tacoma.
“Casper was the odd man out, simple as that” Wedge said. “It’s not a bad thing that he’ll get to play every day.”
Someone asked if the team had considered releasing Chone Figgins.
“That’s not an option,” Wedge said. “He’s our utility player, a guy who can play the outfield, the infield. He’s part of this team.”
Beginning play Thursday, Montero led all American League rookies in hits, doubles, home runs and RBI. … Alex Liddi’s grand slam on Wednesday was the 11th by a rookie in franchise history.
Seattle hosts Los Angeles in a 7:10 p.m. game that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Ervin Santana (2-6, 4.22 ERA) vs. Blake Beavan (2-4, 4.46).