Mariners Insider Blog

Gutierrez bruised - and one catcher is about to leave

Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, who fouled a pitch off his left knee in Wednesday's game, was not in the lineup tonight.

"Franklin has played through tendinitis in that knee since spring training, and last night he fouled a ball off the spot that's been hurting him," manager Don Wakamatsu said.

Ironically, Gutierrez said he wears a shin guard to protect from foul balls around his shin, foot and ankle.

"My whole career, I never fouled a ball off my knee until last night," he said. "I think I'll be ready to play tomorrow night in Denver. It's not nearly as painful today as I thought it would be."

The Mariners put Endy Chavez in center, Wladimir Balentien in left field and acknowledged that over the six games played in National League parks, Ken Griffey Jr. would make at least a couple of starts in left field.

And before the team arrives in Denver to play the Rockies, it will have to make a decision on sending a catcher out and bringing a pitcher up.

"With the National League game and the changes you may make, we can't carry three catchers and be down a reliever," Wakamatsu said.

Rob Johnson, who hasn't played since Sunday, is about over the bruised foot and shoulder that sidelined him, so it's all but certain he'll regain his starting job - probably tonight.

That means one catcher - Guillermo Quiroz or Jamie Burke - will have to go.