Wednesday Mariners news and notes
By Shannon Drayer
Some quick news and notes before today’s game:
Franklin Gutierrez threw and ran under the eye of head athletic trainer Rick Griffin and all went well. I was off Tuesday so this morning was the first time I saw Guti since the team broke camp in Arizona. I was happy to see that he appears to have kept the weight and muscle mass he put on this offseason. He looks like he looked when he reported for spring training.
Of course he has not had a spring training so he still has a lot of work ahead of him. The plan is to send him back to Arizona at the end of the week then get him into five or six extended spring games. If those go well he then will be sent on his rehab assignment. Players are allowed to be on rehab assignments for 20 days. Eric Wedge wasn’t sure where he would be sent. It sounds like they want the bulk of his work to come with Tacoma but that will depend on weather.
John Jaso is still a little banged up after taking a foul tip off the collarbone Monday night. As a result, Jesus Montero is catching today, his first day after night game start. Jaso is available if needed but Wedge would like to stay away from him today.
Miguel Olivo is playing in his third rehab game today. He is scheduled to catch all nine innings and if all goes well could be back as soon as Thursday or Friday, at which point a roster decision will have to be made.
Kevin Millwood is on the hill today coming off two great starts on the road. Millwood has an interesting home/road split, a 10.05 ERA at home and 1.78 on the road. To further illustrate, in three starts at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, Coors Field and Rangers Ballpark in Arlington he has allowed a grand total of two runs. In three starts at Safeco Field Millwood has surrendered 16 runs. I asked him about this earlier this week and he said, “You go into a place like New York and you know you have got to keep the ball down and try to keep the ball on the ground. You go to a place like Safeco and it’s a big ballpark, the ball doesn’t fly very much and I think you kind of get away from that thought process a little bit. I think it is something I need to do more there because I haven’t had the results I want there.”
Morning funny. Before day games Eric Wedge usually holds his meeting with the media in his office. It is a more relaxed atmosphere than in the dugout and as a result there is often a little more story telling. Today Wedge was describing a situation a couple of nights ago where a second catcher was needed in the bullpen late in the game. He planned to send Jesus Montero who was DHing to catch him but Munenori Kawasaki had other ideas. Give this a listen.
What is important to note is Kawasaki is not a rookie, he’s not a young player. He is a player who more than established himself, a perennial All Star and two-time Gold Glove winner in Japan, yet he has embraced his role and has been willing to take on whatever is thrown his way. This has not gone unnoticed in the Mariners clubhouse.