Guti misses first-half finale with sore back

Guti misses first-half finale with sore back

SEATTLE -- Left fielder Franklin Gutierrez, who has battled health issues much of his recent career with the Mariners, was scratched from Sunday's first-half finale against the Angels about two hours before the first pitch due to soreness in his back.

"He's not feeling good," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "I think his back is just stiff, so we didn't want to take a chance on hurting him."

Gutierrez has hit .290 in 12 games since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on June 24 and McClendon wanted to use his right-handed bat as Seattle faced three lefty Angels starters heading into the All-Star break. But after starting Friday in the outfield and Saturday at designated hitter, Gutierrez was unable to go on Sunday.

The 32-year-old sat out all of 2014 after totaling just 81 games in 2012 and '13 while dealing with ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis that affects his hips and lower body. But after Gutierrez hit .317 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs in 48 games with Tacoma, he was brought up by the Mariners and has played well in a part-time role.

Jesus Montero originally wasn't in Sunday's lineup, but he moved into the designated hitter spot and Nelson Cruz shifted to the outfield to cover Gutierrez's absence.

Worth noting

• McClendon said he's not ready to announce the Mariners' pitching rotation coming out of the All-Star break. With Felix Hernandez set to throw in Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile, the club may be waiting to see how he fits back in. Last season, Hernandez didn't pitch until the Mariners' second game after starting for the American League in the Midsummer Classic.

The Yankees will go with Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia in the three-game series against Seattle, starting Friday in New York.

• Left-hander J.A. Happ, who was optioned to Class-A Bakersfield to open a roster spot for Montero the last few days, will likely just throw bullpen sessions and not pitch in a Minor League game before rejoining the club at the end of his mandatory 10-day waiting period next Monday in Detroit.

• Lefty reliever Charlie Furbush, who is on the 15-day disabled list with left biceps tendinitis, will throw over the All-Star break and fly with the team on its upcoming road trip to New York and Detroit. McClendon said Furbush will likely throw bullpens and a sim game during the trip and be ready to rejoin the team when he's eligible on July 23, which is the last day of the trip in Detroit.

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