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07/13/12 10:00 PM ET

Montero returns to Mariners lineup

SEATTLE -- Mariners rookie Jesus Montero was back in the lineup for Friday's series opener against the Rangers after missing the previous three games with a minor concussion.

Montero took advantage of the four-day All-Star break to clear his head, both from the concussion and the first half of his first full season in the Majors.

"We went up to Mt. Rainier," said the 22-year-old Venezuelan. "That's the first time I've seen that much snow. It was beautiful."

Montero was the designated hitter on Friday. The Mariners are hoping to get him going again after a rough stretch during which he's had just one RBI since June 1. He was on an 0-for-20 stretch when he got hit in the mask with a hard foul ball and had to leave the game in the fifth inning on July 4.

He finished the first half hitting .245 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs and said he's focused on having a strong second half, particularly now that he's healthy.

"Everything feels good now," Montero said. "Every time you get hit in the head, it's not easy because I've been hit in the head before. I've had a lot of concussions. That was the hardest one. But a hit in the head isn't easy for anybody. Anyone can get dizzy."

Gutierrez cleared for physical activity

SEATTLE -- Franklin Gutierrez was cleared to resume physical activity on Friday as the Mariners center fielder returns from a concussion he received on June 29 when he was hit in the side of the head by a pickoff throw to first base by Red Sox pitcher Franklin Morales.

Gutierrez, 29, rode a stationary bike Friday and did some other cardio work after having been sidelined completely for the past two weeks. The next step will be getting cleared for baseball activity, so he can resume throwing and hitting.

"He did a few things today from an exercise standpoint and felt really good afterward," said manager Eric Wedge. "Hopefully we can up his work tomorrow."

The 2010 Gold Glove winner has played just 13 games this season after spending the first two months on the disabled list with a partially torn pectoral muscle. He's hitting .267 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 45 at-bats.

Gutierrez initally was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list, but now has been transferred to the 15-day DL.

Worth noting

• Mike Carp went 1-for-4 at designated hitter for Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday and will continue getting at-bats in Triple-A as he recovers from an inflamed right shoulder. Wedge said the plan is to get Carp a game at first base this weekend.

• Friday's deadline for signing 2012 Draft picks passed without the Mariners reaching agreement with first baseman Nick Halamandaris, their eighth-round pick. The California high school player is the only one of Seattle's top 30 picks who didn't sign.

• Utility infielder Munenori Kawasaki has been selected as the Mariners' nominee for the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association's 2012 Heart and Hustle Award. Each MLB team gets one nominee for the award, which will be announced Nov. 13.

• Mariners first-round Draft pick Mike Zunino made his pro debut on Friday night as the DH for the Class A Everett AquaSox.

• Of Seattle's 87 games before the All-Star break, 44 were decided by one or two runs. The only AL team with more games decided by two runs or fewer was the Tigers with 48.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.