Guti to return to Mariners lineup Sunday

Guti to return to Mariners lineup Sunday

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Franklin Gutierrez was not in the Mariners' lineup for a sixth straight day on Friday, but the veteran center fielder said he's fine and the team is just being cautious after he felt some tightness in his legs this week.

Manager Eric Wedge said the plan is to have Gutierrez back in the lineup Sunday when the Mariners face the Rangers in Peoria.

Gutierrez, 30, played just 40 games last season due to a torn pectoral muscle suffered in training camp and then a midseason concussion that put him back on the disabled list for two more months.

Gutierrez is off to a strong start this spring, batting .368 (7-for-19) with two doubles, three home runs and 10 RBIs in seven Cactus League games. He hasn't played since Saturday against the Dodgers, but has continued to take batting practice and work out with the team every day.

"Nothing to worry about," Gutierrez said Friday, before heading out to the field for the team's morning workout.

"He's feeling better," Wedge said. "We're obviously being very careful with him. His legs got tight on him a little bit and obviously his playing time the last couple years has been here and there. He's off to a great start here in camp performance-wise, but we have to make sure we can count on him. One of the luxuries of having a longer camp, we're able to pull him back for a couple days. But the plan is to get him back in there Sunday."

Gutierrez won an American League Gold Glove Award in 2010, but has played just 132 of the team's 324 games over the last two years due to a variety of health issues.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. Owen Perkins is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.