SEATTLE -- Just one day after Franklin Gutierrez reminded the Mariners what they'd been missing with a home run and a double in his first game back from the disabled list, his health problems reared up once again in the Mariners' 6-3 win on Sunday. Gutierrez left the game in the seventh inning.
"His legs tightened up on him again, so we'll see how he feels in a couple days," manager Eric Wedge said.
The legs tightened when Gutierrez hit the center-field wall in the fourth inning while catching a fly ball from Jed Lowrie.
Keeping Gutierrez healthy and in the lineup has been tough over the last three seasons. The Mariners played their 400th game since the start of 2011 on Sunday. And Gutierrez, back in the lineup in center field for a second straight game, had played in just 149 of those.
"I'll tell you what, we've missed him more this year than anybody," Wedge said. "He's a separator for us. You can say what you want, but you saw it all spring. This guy is a difference maker."
If Gutierrez can stay in the lineup, it will give Wedge more options, both defensively and with his batting order. His presence Sunday allowed Wedge to give designated hitter Kendrys Morales a needed day off, until he pinch-hit in the 10th inning and came through with a home run. Raul Ibanez -- who had two homers of his own -- slid into the DH role, and Michael Saunders played left field.
If Gutierrez hasn't re-injured himself, Wedge will be cautious with him, something that will be made easier with the Mariners' three off-days in the next eight days.
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. Jacob Thorpe is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less