Mariners play it safe with Guti's latest setback

Mariners play it safe with Guti's latest setback

Mariners play it safe with Guti's latest setback
SEATTLE -- Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez was removed in the fourth inning of Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Red Sox after feeling tightness in his groin muscle, just after hitting a leadoff home run in the third at Safeco Field.

Manager Eric Wedge said Gutierrez tweaked his leg on a diving catch in the first inning, then felt it tighten up as the game progressed.

"What we don't want to have happen, obviously, is for him to pull it and then his season's over," Wedge said. "So we got him out of there."

Wedge said Gutierrez's status would be day to day. With Michael Saunders also sidelined the past 11 games with a strained groin muscle, Casper Wells -- just recalled from Triple-A Tacoma -- moved into center field after Gutierrez was taken out.

Gutierrez, 29, has played just 21 games this year after two lengthy stints on the disabled list. The 2010 Gold Glove outfielder missed the first two months of the season following a partial tear of his pectoral muscle during Spring Training, then sat out another two months after getting a concussion when he was hit in the head with a pickoff throw in his 13th game back.

He's performed well in the short time he's been on the field, batting .278 with three home runs and 11 RBIs. Gutierrez has hit .296 (8-for-27) in eight games since his return from the concussion and scorched a home run to center off Jon Lester in his second at-bat Tuesday.

The athletic outfielder played just 92 games in 2011 after dealing with a digestive issue in the first half of the year and then straining his oblique muscle in the final month.

Gutierrez has not made an error in 297 consecutive games dating back to Aug. 21, 2009, and has an on-going American League record of 838 straight errorless chances, including his diving catch of a short fly ball by Jacoby Ellsbury in the first inning Tuesday that led to his injury.