ARLINGTON -- Erstwhile Mariners closer Brandon League got his first non-closer relief situation Monday, pitching a scoreless eighth inning in Seattle's 4-2 loss to the Rangers.Manager Eric Wedge said he'll continue using League in similar outings for the time being, even giving him longer stints when possible, as he works on some mechanical issues that led to his removal from the closer's role after his fourth blown save of the season on Friday. "I thought it was good to get him out there. I thought he did OK," Wedge said before Tuesday's game. "There are a couple things he's working on, and to have the opportunity to go out there in non-save situations is going to help him. At some point in time we'll let him stay out there a couple innings, and I think that will be healthy for him, too. We'll let him pitch a little bit." League yielded a sharp leadoff single to Adrian Beltre on Monday. He then got David Murphy to fly out to center, enticed Nelson Cruz into a fielder's choice grounder to short and got out of the inning when Jesus Montero threw out Cruz trying to steal second. Wedge acknowledged that hitters seem to be jumping on League's initial offerings and he appears to be relying too heavily on his fastball. "I think teams have been aggressive early on him, and that's something we recognize," Wedge said. "When you look at Brandon's stuff, he's most definitely not a one-pitch pitcher. He's got other weapons. He just needs to continue to utilize all his pitches, like most people do."
Gutierrez begins playing in Arizona
ARLINGTON -- Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, on the disabled list since the start of the season with a torn pectoral muscle and then plantar fasciitis in his right heel, had four at-bats in an unofficial extended spring training game in Phoenix on Tuesday.Manager Eric Wedge said the former Gold Glove outfielder will play five innings in the field on Wednesday as he continues working his way toward a Minor League rehab stint. "He swung the bat well," Wedge said. "He'll play in the field tomorrow. We'll probably give him a couple days again after that and then see where we're at." Wedge said he's hopeful Gutierrez can rejoin the Mariners before the All-Star break in July. If he stays on schedule, he could begin his Minor League rehab stint early next week, which would put him in line to be back with the Mariners during the last week of June. Once a position player begins a Minor League rehab, he has a maximum of 20 days before he must be recalled by the Major League club. Wedge has indicated Gutierrez will need all 20 days in the Minors, since he hasn't played since early in Spring Training.
Wedge weighing options on Ichiro
ARLINGTON -- For the second day in a row, Mariners manager Eric Wedge was asked Tuesday if he might move Ichiro Suzuki out of the No. 3 spot in the batting order if the team continues struggling to produce runs.And this time Wedge acknowledged that "obviously it's something you have to consider" as his club is on a five-game losing streak and ranks 13th of 14 American League teams in scoring with Ichiro hitting in his new lineup position. But the issue is two-pronged for Wedge, since no one else on the Mariners is stepping up offensively to fill the No. 3 hole if he does make a move. "You've got to have a solution to it, too," Wedge said. "I'm always considering almost everything. I weigh everything out. I look at our options, the timing, I try to stay consistent with my thought process on all our guys. But the fact of the matter is you have to open yourself up to what you feel ultimately is best for the ballclub and best for the player. So for me, everything is on the table right now." As to what he likes about Ichiro batting third and why he's maintained that position even while changing around the other players at the top of the order? "It's just a matter of giving him as much time as I feel like we need to give him," Wedge said. "And also you have to take into consideration who is going to be your three-hole hitter, who is going to hit fourth? All that enters into it."
• Temperatures were in the 90s on Tuesday for the second straight game in Arlington, with forecasts for 96 degrees for Wednesday night's series finale. Monday night's 93-degree start was the 136th time the Mariners have played in 90-plus degrees in franchise history and they're 51-85 in those games.Not surprisingly, 52 of those hot-weather games have come in Texas, with the Mariners sitting at 18-34 heading into Tuesday's contest. • The Mariners and Angels are the only American League clubs to have used just five starting pitchers in the season's first two months, while the Royals have gone through a Major League-high 10 starters to date. • Left-handed pitcher James Paxton was placed on the seven-day disabled list by Double-A Jackson on Tuesday with a knee contusion. The injury is not believed to be serious, but the highly rated prospect will be shelved at least a week. Right-hander Taylor Stanton was promoted from Class A to take his place.