04/13/2013 9:03 PM ET
Wedge sees no effect from Safeco's changes
By Bob Sherwin / Special to MLB.com
SEATTLE -- After just five games played under the new outfield dimensions along Safeco Field's left-side outfield wall -- drawn-in fences -- the impact has yet to be felt -- at least on Mariners manager Eric Wedge.
"I don't have a whole lot of an opinion on it, really," he said before Saturday night's game against the Texas Rangers. "I just don't think it's going to be much of a story. I feel like it's just going to be a normal ballpark.
"I think it's just going to play itself out. ... I don't think it gives an advantage to the pitchers or the hitters."
This offseason, the fences were drawn in as much as 17 feet in left-center and the wall was lowered to eight feet.
Guti sits with right groin injury
SEATTLE -- A nagging right groin injury kept center fielder Franklin Gutierrez out of the Mariners lineup on Saturday night against the Texas Rangers.
"He's pretty tight today," manager Eric Wedge said. "With one extra outfielder, we really can't take a chance at starting him and losing him."
Gutierrez was getting treatment all afternoon and during the game. Wedge hoped that, if needed, Gutierrez could at least serve as a pinch-hitter.
"Hopefully, we can get him back in there tomorrow," he said.
It's not certain when Gutierrez injured his groin or if it was the result of one incident.
"He's been feeling it the past couple days," Wedge said. "I don't think it helped when he went up on the wall the other day. He may have aggravated it a little more."
On Thursday night Gutierrez ran into the wall chasing down a double by Lance Berkman.
His injury comes at a time outfielder Michael Morse is sidelined with a fractured right pinkie finger and is unavailable for at least another five days. Outfielder Michael Saunders was placed on the disabled list April 10 with a sprained right shoulder.
The club has added Endy Chavez to the roster for depth, and if pressed, Wedge said he could use Robert Andino in the outfield.
Over the past two seasons Gutierrez has appeared in 132 of a possible 324 games due to four trips to the DL.
"You see his history. We just got to manage him the best we can," Wedge said. "We've been doing it all spring, which is what we have to do. That's why we have to give him periodic days off."
Ibanez in rare company with Kingdome homer
SEATTLE -- The number of active Major Leaguers who have hit a home run in the Kingdome is down to eight, including Mariners outfielder Raul Ibanez, now in his third stint with the club.
The Kingdome, the Mariners home field for 22 1/2 years, was last used on June 27, 1999. The team moved into Safeco Field on July 15, 1999, and the Kingdome's remnants are shattered in landfills.
Most of the players who once played in that concrete dome have moved on.
Ibanez, who is the all-time home run leader at Safeco Field with 67, came up in the late '90s with the Mariners. He hit two home runs in the Kingdome, Sept. 26, 1997, against Oakland and Sept. 6, 1998, against Baltimore.
The other players still around who connected inside the dome are: Alex Rodriguez (60), Jason Giambi, (4), Derek Jeter (3), Paul Konerko (2), Carlos Beltran (1), Todd Helton (1) and David Ortiz (1).
• Right-hander Blake Beavan, the heretofore fifth starter who was replaced by Aaron Harang, was available in the bullpen on Saturday for a long-relief role. Harang starts on Tuesday against Detroit.
• Morse said "the swelling has gone down" in his injured (non-displaced fracture) pinkie. But he said he should still return around April 19-21.
• Kelly Shoppach caught his second straight game on Saturday for the first time this season.
"He's been doing a nice job for us," Wedge said.
• In his six appearances this season, right-hander Stephen Pryor has a 0.00 ERA (six innings) and has stranded six of seven inherited runners. He has retired 18 of 21 batters faced, allowing just three singles with no walks and five strikeouts.
• Right-hander D.J. Mitchell, designated for assignment Thursday to make room for Chavez on the 40-man roster, has cleared waivers and elected to become a free agent.
Bob Sherwin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.