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Gutierrez gets another breather on Sunday

ARLINGTON -- Franklin Gutierrez was out of the lineup Sunday after playing on Saturday, as Mariners manager Eric Wedge continues trying to work the injury-plagued center fielder through some leg issues that have bothered him since Spring Training.

Gutierrez has started just three of the last nine games, while Endy Chavez has received the bulk of the time in center field.

"It's just a process of trying to help him get over the hump," Wedge said. "If you play him again today, it's going to be another setback. If you give him today off, hopefully we can start pulling back-to-back days with him. That would be the plan. But for him to get better, that's just what we have to do."

Wedge acknowledged that a stint on the disabled list is a possibility at some point if the situation doesn't improve.

"Down the road, if this keeps up it is," he said. "We're trying to avoid that. But if this keeps up, that will be our only other option."

With Michael Saunders eligible to come off the disabled list on Friday, the Mariners will have an extra outfielder whenever he's ready to play. But Wedge wasn't ready to say that Saunders might trade places with Gutierrez at that point, particularly with no assurance when exactly Saunders will be ready.

"I don't want to speculate," Wedge said. "I'm still hoping we're in the process of getting [Gutierrez] over the hump. In regard to Saunders coming back, that's still a long way off for me. So many things can happen between now and then."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog.
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