SEATTLE -- Mariners manager Eric Wedge was optimistic that outfielders Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Saunders, both out with groin injuries, would return for Friday's series opener against the A's.

"We saw what we needed to see from Michael," Wedge said. "Now, it's just a matter of how 'Gut' shows up on Friday."

Saunders has been out of the lineup for about two weeks, save for four innings last Friday, when he aggravated the injury chasing a fly ball in the right-field corner. Prior to Wednesday's game, Saunders was doing agility drills and running the bases.

"[Trainer] Rick [Griffin] really pushed him, so good day, already talked to him," Wedge said of Saunders.

Saunders has played most of the season as the Mariners' starting center fielder and is hitting .245 with 14 home runs, 43 RBIs and 18 stolen bases. After enduring a tough stretch of 10 games where he hit .048 (2-for-42), Saunders has hit .357 (10-for-28) over his last eight games.

Gutierrez has only played in 21 games this year, as injuries have plagued his 2012 campaign. In his short time on the field this year, Gutierrez is hitting .278 with four doubles, three home runs and 11 RBIs.

Pentland joins Mariners staff for rest of season

SEATTLE -- The Mariners brought Triple-A coach Jeff Pentland to the big league club on Tuesday to help out, as Tacoma's season ended a day earlier. Pentland, who was the Mariners hitting coach from 2005-08, will assist current hitting coach Chris Chambliss.

"Obviously, a lot of these guys have been with him," manager Eric Wedge said. "Last year we brought up [pitching coach] Dwight [Bernard], this year we're bringing up Pentland. Just because a lot of these guys have been down there with him.

"One, you have more guys here, so it's just more bodies to work with. But two, you got a good opportunity -- even though Chris and Jeff talk periodically throughout the course of the year -- to have an opportunity to spend all day together, quality time together and have conversations, as I'm sure they're having right now or on the plane or on the bus. I think it's just better for us."

Current players on the Mariners roster that spent time at both the Triple-A and Major League level this season include Casper Wells, Alex Liddi, Carlos Peguero and Trayvon Robinson. Carlos Triunfel and Luis Jimenez spent all season with Tacoma, while a few other Major Leaguers have been on rehab assignments in Triple-A.

Manning first base likely in Montero's future

SEATTLE -- Will Mariners fans see Jesus Montero at first base this year? No, most likely not. But that doesn't mean they won't see him there in the future.

"That is something I have talked to him about in regards to this offseason and working and next spring -- I think that's more realistic," manager Eric Wedge said. "I think it's more fair to him. We're still looking to put [together] the best ballclub we can. I like the dynamic to where you got three different ways to get him in the lineup, if you're talking about catcher, first base and DH."

Wedge said Montero will have to work on both fundamentals and conditioning during the offseason, and the team will send him off with a plan in place.

The Mariners also will address running with Montero -- speed isn't among his strengths -- specifically working on his form.

"I think that more players are doing that," Wedge said. "I think that's not just conditioning, whether it be agility or flexibility or running, or whatever it may be.

"You use whatever avenues you need to get done what you need to get done. It's just too important, it's your career."

Worth noting

• Mariners manager Eric Wedge said the team is working on a plan that would get right-handers Hector Noesi and Erasmo Ramirez a start before the season ends. Both pitchers have started with the Mariners this season but were with Triple-A Tacoma before rosters expanded in September.

• Reliever Oliver Perez has not allowed a run in his last 17 appearances (12 innings) and joins the Orioles' Troy Patton as one of two American League relievers to throw more than six innings since July 8 and not allow a run.