More rain talk, Gutierrez returns and Saunders could see time in right
By Shannon Drayer
The Mariners are happy to be out of the rain and into sunny Minneapolis. Their long day did not come to an end after the game was called. When they got to the airport they were informed that there would be a delay as the equipment truck broke an axle while still at US Cellular Field. Apparently the drive backed over a fire hydrant and that was the end of that truck. Finding a replacement on a Sunday night could have been a problem but lucky for the Mariners they were able to get the truck that had just unloaded the Brewers equipment at Wrigley Field to rescue them. An extra hour and a half was spent on the plane waiting for the equipment and what was impressive was that I didn’t hear one complaint. It is what it is when it comes to travel and the guys are very good about it.
The team arrived at the hotel in Minneapolis at about midnight and then it was off to the Presidential Suite for their annual fantasy football draft. Most of the team participated as either an owner, co owner or spectator. With the early returns in it appears that the Ackley/Smoak team had the best draft and a trade may already be in the works as Miguel Olivo is trying to get Michael Vick from Brendan Ryan’s team. These guys really enjoy their fantasy football.
On to the news.
In his pregame talk with the media Eric Wedge talked a little bit more about what happened in the seventh inning Sunday when the umpires halted the game. He again asserted that the umpires did the best with the information about the weather that they were given from both local and national agencies. Unfortunately, it looks like that information was not very accurate.
“The umpire was trying to make a go with it with the information that he had,” said Wedge. “I went out there right away when he did stop it, and I wasn’t very happy about it but he assured me that with the information that he had that were going to play again. We’re definitely are going to get this going again and you have to trust that but then the stories change and this, that and the other…”
This, that and the other was unrelenting rain. The game was eventually called and the Mariners left Chicago with three losses.
Franklin Gutierrez is here and here to play. He said he has been headache free for about two weeks. He also further clarified the headache situation that we were told he had that was not related to his concussion. Apparently he was suffering headaches because of stiffness or tightness in his neck. Medication took care of that and he told me it really hasn’t been problem since.
Wedge said that Gutierrez is the priority now in the outfield. Casper Wells was sent down to make room for him and Wedge pointed out that it wasn’t a bad move for Wells as he will be able to play every day. Rosters expand in five days so it most likely will be a short stay for Wells.
Also coming up at that time most likely will be Mike Carp who started his rehab assignment tonight.
Michael Saunders is still not 100% after suffering a slight groin pull in the collision with Eric Thames Friday in Chicago. He took batting practice today and could be back in the lineup tomorrow.
Wedge said that Saunders will play the corners when Gutierrez is in center. I asked how much of a possibility there was that we could see Saunders in right.
“He will probably play some right field depending on who the other guy in the outfield is,” he said.
What is interesting here is, Saunders has never played right in the big leagues. Looking ahead to next year he and Gutierrez are the closest thing to locks in the outfield. When Saunders has played with Gutierrez it has always been in left. If the team were to make a move to bring in a bat Saunders in right would help create a position. If they were to consider moving Dustin Ackley to the outfield again they would need Saunders in right. Just something to keep an eye on.
Finally, according to Ken Rosenthal the Mariners have placed both Jason Vargas and Kevin Millwood on waivers. Both most likely will be claimed but there is no guarantee that a deal gets done for either. There are teams with pitching needs but the price that Zduriencik would ask for Vargas I would have to imagine would be quite high as he has value to this team. Millwood is more interesting. The Mariners certainly do not have to trade him but if they can get a useful piece for the future then it is a move worth making. It will be interesting to see what happens.