Wedge: Gutierrez needs to be at full strength to return

Wedge: Gutierrez needs to be at full strength to return

SEATTLE -- Franklin Gutierrez could be ready to start a Minor League rehab assignment by the end of the upcoming week, but manager Eric Wedge said Sunday he won't bring the veteran center fielder back to the Mariners until he proves ready to play every day.

Gutierrez has played only 148 of Seattle's 361 games since 2011 due to five different stints on the disabled list with a variety of ailments. He's currently out with a hamstring injury and has begun taking batting practice and running the bases.

But Wedge said he's not going to play the half-in game with Gutierrez anymore and needs to see him at full strength before he returns.

"I'm hoping we can start [a Minor League rehab stint] at the end of the week," Wedge said. "But I'm not looking for him to come back just to be OK to play. We've done that and it hasn't worked. When he comes back, he's got to be ready to go. So we'll let that dictate how long it takes."

And that means seeing Gutierrez play day after day at Triple-A Tacoma or elsewhere, whatever it takes.

"It has to be for me," Wedge said. "The other way doesn't work. It hasn't worked. For three years. So he's going to have to be able to come here and play. I need to see him play every day."

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