Mariners continue to monitor Cruz, Gutierrez

Mariners continue to monitor Cruz, Gutierrez

SEATTLE -- Nelson Cruz was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game on Monday as he works his way back from a strained right quadriceps.

Cruz and Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon had hoped the 35-year-old slugger would make his return to the lineup on Monday, but Cruz, who injured his quadriceps while running the bases in Wednesday's game, remains day to day as he tests his leg.

Also not in the lineup Monday was left fielder Franklin Gutierrez, who has been out since the second inning of Friday's series opener in Oakland with a tight right groin. With both Gutierrez and Cruz not expected to play on Monday, the Mariners enter Monday's game with just two reserve position players in catcher Jesus Sucre and outfielder Stefen Romero.

Mariners TV on Gutierrez

"Not close enough," McClendon said when asked how his two outfielders were progressing. "We'll see tomorrow."

Romero and Shawn O'Malley have filled in admirably in the outfield over Seattle's five-game win streak, but the Mariners would love to have their All-Star slugger back in the lineup. Cruz is second in the American League to the Orioles' Chris Davis with 39 home runs and entered Monday with the highest slugging percentage (.587) and the eighth-highest batting average (.310) in the AL.

Cruz said he expects to be used as a pinch-hitter and as a designated hitter in the next few days. He has been able to swing the bat without pain and said he ran through on-field agility drills on Monday with relatively little pain.

"I did all the agility, it was good and with my first sprint I felt it a little bit," Cruz said. "My other ones it was good, it was kind of tight still. When I run, it feels better."

Gutierrez, 32, is hitting .357 in his last 21 games and went 9-for-24 with three home runs during the Mariners' 10-game road trip. He has 11 home runs and 30 RBIs this season, his highest totals in both categories since 2010.

Cruz has been frustrated at not being able to play over the last few games and hopes to return to the lineup soon. He said he is enjoying Seattle's longest win streak since 2014.

"Yeah it's definitely a shame. You want to be out there," Cruz said. "The good thing is that we're winning, so hopefully we continue that streak."

Worth noting

• McClendon said he did not have an update on the nail on James Paxton's left middle finger when asked about the left-hander on Monday.

Paxton, who has not pitched for the Mariners since May 28 after straining a tendon in the same finger, was on track to make his return to Seattle's rotation this week, but was pulled from a rehab start with Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday after 44 pitches with the torn fingernail. McClendon has not yet announced a starting pitcher for Wednesday's game.

Andrew Erickson is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.