A few surprises on the line-up.
Kendrys Morales is in the line-up at first base. It’s his second time in the field. Justin Smoak will DH instead. Eric Wedge said he would give Morales a game at first every so often as a refresher.
Franklin Gutierrez is not in the line-up because, well, he is Franklin Gutierrez. They have to limit him a little with groin/hamstring tightness. Is it frustrating for fans? Yes. It’s probably worse for Wedge.
“We are still trying to help him with his lower half,” Wedge said. “I think it stems from his lower half. They get out of line and it sort of affects his legs. He didn’t feel very good yesterday. He feels better today. We’ll see how his work goes out here and go from there.”
It makes writing out a line-up a little more difficult.
“We are try to manage it,” Wedge said. “It’s tough. I talked to him today. You just keep communicating with him and the trainers keep working on him and hopefully we can get on the good side of this.”
Wedge wasn’t sure if Gutierrez would be able to pinch hit or fill in as a defensive replacement.
“I’m going to see how he feels after he does his work,” Wedge said. “It just depend on what percentage he is. What percentage he might be in the outfield, if he can hit and run and that kind of stuff.”
Robert Andino is in the line-up. Brendan Ryan has been scuffling at the plate. He has one hit in his last 22 plate appearances.
“I want to get Robert in there a little bit more, he did some things yesterday and Ryan’s had some struggles,” Wedge said. “I’m just trying to put the best team out there. To get Robert on track, we have to play him a little more.”
Ryan is struggling and when that happens he is often his own worst enemy – overthinking and overanalyzing the situation.
“He should be our best bunter, and he has to get that bunt down,” Wedge said. “We just need him to turn the corner. We talked about it before, he just gets in his own way too much. He has to get beyond that some time.”
Talked with Michael Saunders. He took batting practice on the field early today. He said everything felt good. He’s been doing plenty of exercises to keep the shoulder healthy. And he believes he will be ready to come back when his DL stint is up on April 26.
“His BP looked good,” Wedge said. “Today he was swinging and keeping both hands on the bat and not releasing to protect it a little.”
Wedge admitted that when Saunders does come back, they won’t carry six outfielders meaning a roster move would have to be made. It means most likely that Endy Chavez or Jason Bay would be designated for assignment. The other possibility is that if Gutierrez’s hip and leg issues continue, they could put him on the DL when they activate Saunders. It’s a longshot, but possible