SEATTLE — Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge didn’t intend to shake things up, but that’s what happened on Monday.
Franklin Gutierrez returned from the disabled list and was inserted right into the starting lineup after nursing a strained right hamstring. He batted third in his third start since June to open the series against the Texas Rangers.
“By getting Gutierrez back, it puts you in position to do some things,” Wedge said.
“Things” meaning generate some offense. Well, neither Gutierrez nor his teammates provided enough of that to prevent an 8-3 loss to the Texas Rangers before 15,995 fans at Safeco Field.
“I’m looking to score runs,” Wedge said of inserting Gutierrez into the lineup. “That’s what we’re here to do. So, whatever the best lineup is going to be, that’s what we’re going to do. We’ve got a lot of young players. Some of them are on their way to establishing themselves but nobody has firmly established themselves. We’ve got some veterans that need to be down in the middle of the lineup; we’re counting on them.”
The Mariners designated Aaron Harang for assignment to clear space on the roster for Gutierrez, who’s only appeared in 19 games with Seattle this season — none in the past two months.
The Mariners have 10 days to trade or release Harang, who went 5-11 with a 5.76 earned-run average over 120 1/3 innings. It’s possible that Class AAA starter Taijuan Walker could replace Harang in the Mariners rotation, but Wedge said that hasn’t been determined yet.
“We’ve got multiple guys that we feel like have a chance to be pretty good starting pitchers for us in the future,” Wedge said. “Because we have options like that, we feel we can cover the rest of the season. When I say ‘cover,’ I mean giving a couple of guys opportunities.”
Mariners pitcher Joe Saunders didn’t start well Monday, giving up two runs in the opening inning and another two in the fourth. In the seventh, A.J. Pierzynski smashed a three-run homer to right in the seventh inning and put the Rangers up 7-3. Saunders (10-13) was done after that inning, having given up nine hits and three walks.
First baseman Mitch Moreland added another homer off relief pitcher Yoervis Medina in the eighth inning.
Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager hit a solo home run deep to right to cut the deficit to 4-3in the fourth inning.
Seattle shortstop Brad Miller tied the game at 2-2 in the third inning with a two-run single.