Franklin Gutierrez barely lasted two games before finding himself back in a familiar and foreboding place.
The Mariners placed Gutierrez on the 15-day disabled list yet again on Tuesday with a strained right hamstring. It’s the same hamstring that sidelined him two months before he was finally activated again on Saturday.
Then came Sunday, when Gutierrez collided with the center field wall on a catch and hurt the leg again. Dustin Ackley was called up from Class AAA in his place and will play mostly the outfield when he is used in games.
“I’m disappointed, I think we all are,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “I don’t think anybody’s as disappointed as he is. I’m sure the frustration’s just off the charts for him. But it is what it is, so get back to work on it and go from there.”
Wedge said he isn’t sure exactly how he’ will use Ackley, who rejoined the team just before game time and was not in the starting lineup Tuesday night.
Ackley hit .365 with an on-base-plus-slugging mark of .972 in 104 at-bats at AAA while learning to play left field and center.
“He’s going to play,” Wedge said, adding that Ackley could also return to the infield if needed at times.
As for Gutierrez, the latest injury continues a four-season nightmare for him on that front.
He had spent most of spring training and the initial few weeks of the regular season struggling to play in consecutive games because of leg issues.
Last season, Gutierrez missed the first two-plus months with a torn pectoral muscle suffered in spring training. Then, shortly after his return, he was beaned in the head during a pickoff attempt at first base and missed several more weeks because of a concussion and inner ear issues.
Gutierrez missed most of the 2011 season with a stomach issue lingering from the latter part of the 2010 campaign. Shortly after returning from that, he tore his oblique muscle and missed the final month of the 2011 season.
M’s waste another Felix start
Mariners manager Eric Wedge is tired of seeing 41-year-old Raul Ibanez get the only big hits for Seattle.
Ibanez homered for the fourth time in four games, but Seattle missed a couple of late chances and lost to Pittsburgh 4-2 Wednesday. The Pirates won their season-high sixth in a row.
With the score 2-all, Seattle put two runners on with one out in the eighth inning. Reliever Vin Mazzaro (4-2) struck out Justin Smoak and got Michael Saunders to fly out to end the threat.
Pittsburgh scored twice in the ninth off relievers Charlie Furbush (1-4) and Yoervis Medina to pick up the victory. Jordy Mercer singled home the go-ahead run.
“We’ve got to hit. It’s time to hit,” Wedge said. “You’re not going to win games unless you hit. They got the two-out hit. We didn’t. Game over. That’s the difference.” Struggles at the plate have been a constant theme for the Mariners long before Wedge took over in 2011. Now in his third season as Mariners’ manager, Wedge is fed up with the lack of offensive output.
“I’m tired of talking about approach, mechanics or whatever,” Wedge said. “You’ve got to hit. We can break it down 10 times and 10 times again. We’ve been doing that for two years. There were reasons the first year and reasons last year. This year we’ve had a couple injuries. Outside of that there are no reasons.
“Injuries are big don’t get me wrong but you can’t use them as excuses. You’ve got to go out and hit. If you’re playing, you’re here, you’ve got to hit. Otherwise you’re not going to win ballgames,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.