SEATTLE -- Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez played catch with a Mariners trainer during the club's pregame workout Saturday as he continued his slow return from a significant concussion two weeks earlier. Gutierrez was finally cleared for baseball activity by doctors, but he is still a ways from being ready to go out on a Minor League rehab assignment. "He's not doing much more than playing catch today, but he's exercising more," manager Eric Wedge said. "He's just doing a little more each day. He feels good. We're going to take him on the road with us, try to get him deeper into the baseball-activity part of it."
Gutierrez was playing just his 13th game of the season after returning from a partially torn pectoral muscle when he got hit in the ear with a pickoff throw to first base by Red Sox pitcher Franklin Morales on June 29. Wedge said doctors are still being cautious with the 29-year-old Venezuelan, but he's hopeful that once Gutierrez is cleared to play in games that it won't take long to get him back with the Mariners. "We've got to test him in every area of the baseball side of things before we send him out on a rehab," Wedge said. "As long as his timing isn't too far off, I don't think he should have to go out for that long. But even when he goes out, we'll have to see how he gets through the first game, how he wakes up the next morning and continue to do the tests we need to do with him."