Mariners forced to bundle up in Chicago
CHICAGO -- After seven weeks in Arizona and then California to open their season, the Mariners had a bit of a rude awakening when they came out to warm up at U.S. Cellular Field for Friday's opener of the three-game set in the Windy City.
The temperature was 41 degrees in the early afternoon and was forecast to dip into the upper 30s by game time. The Mariners have played only 10 games since 1988 when the first-pitch temperature was below 40 degrees.
Players bundled up as best they could with stocking caps and long sleeves, but there's only so much you can do while playing baseball.
"Maybe we can light a fire in the dugout," first baseman Justin Smoak suggested with a laugh.
Manager Eric Wedge managed for two years in Buffalo and seven years in Cleveland, so he's familiar with chilly weather. And Safeco Field can be as cold as any park when the wind is blowing in the early months. But Friday's game figures to be a big test before the temperatures are expected to rise a bit for Saturday's and Sunday's day games.
"It's just part of it early in the season," said Wedge. "I lived it a lot of years obviously managing in Cleveland. This time of the year, this part of the country, you're going to have days like this. We'll just try to utilize the heaters and make sure guys work to stay loose during the game. Just layer up and do what you've got to do."
Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez has had sore hamstrings in recent weeks, but Wedge had him starting in center field Friday and said he wasn't overly concerned.
"He's grown to be quite the study of his own body, because he has had so many issues," Wedge said. "So I do trust him to take care of himself, but we'll do a fly by with a few of these guys and just remind them what we need to do and to pay attention, just stay within yourself on days like today."
Gutierrez went 3-for-5 with a homer, three RBIs and three runs scored during the 10-inning victory.