Mariners manager Eric Wedge confirmed in the postgame press conference after Tuesday's 2-1 loss to the Twins what most of us were expecting - Franklin Gutierrez will be activated from the disabled list before Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Angels.
Gutierrez will be in the starting lineup and in center field.
While that was no shocker, the corresponding roster move was a little surprising. Wedge said that right-handed reliever Tom Wilhelmsen will be sent to Double A Jackson.
I think a lot of us thought that one of the three outfielders - Michael Saunders, Mike Wilson or Carlos Peguero - would be optioned back to Tacoma. We figured moving a reliever was an outside shot. The Mariners do have interleague games this weekend and eight games in eight days. But it's not like they've been using the bullpen much anyway.
Wilhelmsen last pitched on May 7 and he's appeared in just eight games this season.
“You look at the way our starting pitching has been,” he said. “They’ve been very consistent getting us late into ballgames.”
Wilhelmsen will transition back into being a starting pitcher, which is what the Mariner had initially planned before he won a job in the bullpen out of spring training. Pitching coach Carl Willis has already put together a transition plan.
“He’ll go out the first time and throw a couple of innings, couple days off, throw three innings a couple of times and get him into the five-day (routine), build him up to four and then five (innings),” Wedge said.
As for the logjam of outfielders, Wedge said he will try and find ways to use all of them.
“We’ll work it out,” Wedge said. “We’ve got multiple options out there now. With (Gutierrez) coming back, he’s not going to play every day. We’ll need to pick him up in center field, especially early on.”