The Seattle Mariners rearranged their roster with eight moves Wednesday, one of which will allow them to play what may be their best defensive outfield tonight.
“Michael Saunders, Franklin Gutierrez, Ichiro (Suzuki), that’s pretty exciting,” manager Eric Wedge said. “That’s a fantastic defensive outfield. Saunders has done a fine job for us in center field, but he’ll go to left – Franklin is one of the best center fielders in the game.”
And one Mariners fans will see tonight when rookie Erasmo Ramirez starts his first big-league game.
Why didn’t Gutierrez start Wednesday? He had a scheduled day off, and the Mariners thought it best to stay on their same program with the oft-injured Gold Glove defender.
“We’re going to try to keep him healthy, which hasn’t happened in awhile,” Wedge said.
Gutierrez admits returning to center field at Safeco Field is something he’s waited for a long time.
“It’s going to be emotional,” he said. “I don’t remember the last time I played here on a regular basis. It will be very special for me.”
The Mariners recalled Gutierrez and right-handed hitting outfielder Casper Wells, Ramirez and right-handed reliever Steve Delabar. Mike Carp (shoulder) and pitcher Stephen Pryor (groin) were placed on the disabled list.
Pitcher Blake Beavan and utilityman Alex Liddi were optioned to Tacoma. Both, Wedge said, were asked to work on specific things and the team wanted each to play regularly – something that wasn’t going to happen in Seattle.
“I’m the slightly improved Delabar,” Delabar said. “I worked on my slider a lot, especially on the side, and I’m comfortable throwing it now. That’s what they said I needed, and it’s where I put most of my work in.”
Ramirez went 3-2 with a 3.11 earned-run average in seven starts with the Tacoma Rainiers – including one in which he allowed 11 runs.
“I’ve learned a lot, but after that game I realized I was getting ahead of hitters and then staying too close to the strike zone,” Ramirez said. “After the game where I allowed 11 runs, I decided to go back to where (I) was before.”
Kevin Millwood is penciled in to start Saturday’s game against San Francisco, but even he’s not completely certain that will happen.
“I feel good, better each day, but until I throw a bullpen session (today) I don’t think I can say for sure I’m ready,” Millwood said. “I’ve been throwing and today played long toss on flat ground. I’m trying not to push too hard.”
Will he be able to cover first base if needed with the groin strain suffered last week?
“I hope it’ll respond better than Pryor’s did last night,” Millwood deadpanned.
Pryor pulled a groin muscle covering first base Tuesday against San Diego.
Seattle announced the signing of 27 players from the 2012 draft, the highest being second-round infielder Joe DeCarlo. … The Mariners think Carp’s ailing shoulder will respond to rest over the next two weeks, but they’re less certain about Pryor’s groin injury. “It looked like he pulled it pretty good,” Wedge said. … Ichiro began the night four hits short of the 2,500 plateau – and was playing in his 1,812th big-league game. … Left-hander Charlie Furbush has become a go-to reliever this season. Over his past 12 innings, Furbush has not allowed a hit. Batters are 0-for-33 and Furbush has 14 strikeouts in that span.
The Mariners play host to the Padres in 7:10 p.m. game today that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Edinson Volquez (2-6, 3.91 ERA) vs. Ramirez (0-0, 2.45).firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @LarryLaRue