Updated Jul 16, 2012 - 8:50 pm
Monday notes: when will we see Gutierrez return?
Because of the heat and humidity in Kansas City the team did not hold early batting practice today. They did, however, have one of the longer hitting meetings I have seen. We will see if that pays off.
The hitters came charging out of the meeting room and made a beeline for the television in the clubhouse. Brendan Ryan was scheduled to do a segment on the MLB Network's "Intentional Talk" and that is must see TV in the clubhouse. As an added bonus, right before they went to the Ryan segment Chone Figgins was brought up on the air as Chris Rose and Eric Byrnes discussed his slide into second Sunday in which he appeared to grab Ian Kinsler's foot. They also talked about his struggles and what could have been an uncomfortable situation turned out not to be as there was some good-natured laughter from his teammates. Figgins just smiled and shook his head.
When Ryan came on the screen the hitters did not hold back the laughter. They laughed when he looked uncomfortable, when he seemingly forgot he was on TV and took a swig from his water bottle and when he reacted to video of the swing he took in Anaheim where he swung and appeared to get hit in the stomach at the same time.
Then there were the impressions. Ryan, who felt that he didn't quite bring it in the the opening minutes of the interview (and that is exactly what Kevin Millwood is telling him in the picture to the left) pulled out all of the stops, doing Robert De Niro breaking down his swing, Christopher Walken reading "Goodnight Moon" and finally an off-color (he warned them) impression of Harry Caray describing a scene in the bleachers at Wrigley. His teammates absolutely lost it at that point. Easily the lightest moment I have seen in the clubhouse this year. If they win tonight, Ryan might have to do that impression again tomorrow.
Moving on ...
Jesus Montero is behind the plate for the first time since suffering the mild concussion before the All-Star break. John Jaso is scheduled to catch tomorrow as Eric Wedge wants to give him a well-earned chance to hit against a lefty.
Franklin Gutierrez is progressing in his return from a more severe concussion. I spoke with head trainer Rick Griffin about how they measure progress and when they know that Gutierrez is ready to take on more. Right now he is feeling no ill-effects from the concussion but they are going according to a carefully crafted plan which was put in place by Dr. Stan Herring, who is co-director of the Seattle Sports Concussion Program.
Gutierrez has been brought along on a series of five-day progressive plans. He has resumed baseball activity and today he hit in the cage, played catch and ran on a treadmill. If he checks out OK then he will take batting practice and take some balls in the outfield. The last thing he will do is run the bases and slide. When he checks out of all these activities (they check against a baseline that is taken on all players in their spring training physicals) he will then be sent out on a short rehab assignment. I would imagine that he will be sent out sometime during this road trip.
The starter for tomorrow has yet to be officially announced but count on seeing Blake Beavan on the hill. The Mariners most likely will announce this and the corresponding roster move after the game.
Also coming up from Tacoma ... Rainiers announcer Mike Curto will join Rick Rizzs on radio for the Mariners' games against the Yankees July 24 and 25.
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