Former Mariners star Davis hired as instructor
Will primarily be working with hitters in the club's Minor League system
SEATTLE -- Mariners Hall of Famer Alvin Davis has rejoined the organization as a special assignment instructor and will be working with hitters in the Minor League system at Peoria, Everett, High Desert and Tacoma.
Davis, 51, said he decided to get back into pro baseball now that his kids have grown up, and called Mariners president Chuck Armstrong to see if there might be a fit.
"I'm a Mariner at heart," Davis said. "Always have been, always will be. This is my organization, my family, and I want to see us back at the top of the [American League West] division. It's tough being a Mariner fan living in Southern California because they're Angels nuts down there, and I get to see a lot of them and what they're doing with their club. I want to see us back where we belong."
Davis, who was at Safeco Field on Friday to throw out the ceremonial first pitch as part of the team's ongoing 35th anniversary celebration, has been coaching high school ball the past seven years. So he figured getting into player development was the natural path.
He's already worked a few days with Rookie League players in Peoria and will be at Everett and Tacoma in early August. Being a former All-Star first baseman who hit .280 over the course of a nine-year Major League career, he was asked if he'd like the opportunity to talk to recently demoted Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak.
"I hope to have a conversation with him," Davis said. "Coming in this late, I'll primarily be working through the staff there. But what I'd love to do is make myself available, just to have a baseball talk with Justin. And maybe the best thing for Justin is to talk about fishing.
"Sometimes you're grinding too hard," he said. "One thing [former Mariners manager] Jim Lefebvre said, which I'd never heard before I played for Jim, was that sometimes you have to try easier. You just have to trust your ability, take a deep breath and enjoy the game and make it fun again.
"That's the art part of baseball and working with human beings that have emotion and the mental aspect of it. Does a guy need to push harder or does he need to push easier? That's the hard part."
Gutierrez feeling better, resumes activities
SEATTLE -- Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez continues his slow return from a concussion he received four weeks ago, as he's throwing and doing some running for the Mariners this week now that his headaches have finally gone away.
Manager Eric Wedge said on Friday that "all reports have been good so far," on the former Gold Glove Award winner, but offered no time frame on Gutierrez after his comeback was sidetracked once before by the return of headaches during the team's last road trip.
"We'll keep working from day to day, and hopefully he keeps feeling good," Wedge said. "Let's see how the rest of this homestand goes and how far we can get him along. He needs to be able to do everything from a baseball standpoint and still feel OK.
"That's what we're hoping to get to sooner than later. Then we can get him out on a rehab and see how he reacts to playing in games."
Gutierrez, 29, had played just 13 games after returning from a partially torn pectoral muscle when he was hit in the head by a pickoff throw to first by Boston's Franklin Morales on June 29.
Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen is awaiting word on the birth of his first child, which he and his wife, Cassie, have already learned is a girl. Entering Friday, Wilhelmsen hadn't allowed an earned run in 13 save opportunities since taking over as closer, with opponents hitting .089 (4-for-45) and 17 strikeouts in 14 innings.
Reliever Charlie Furbush, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left triceps, will play catch again Saturday, then hopes to throw a bullpen session Monday and a simulated inning to live hitters on Wednesday if all goes well.
Starter Hisashi Iwakuma traveled to Japan to take care of a personal situation, but is expected to return in time for his scheduled start on Monday against the Blue Jays, Wedge said.