SEATTLE -- A bit of baseball normalcy returned to the Mariners on Tuesday, and manager Eric Wedge couldn't help but smile about it. He got to pencil in the names "Michael Morse" and "Franklin Gutierrez" back into the lineup.
Morse, who leads the team with six home runs and is second with nine RBIs, missed the last three games after being hit on his right hand and suffering a non-displaced fracture of his pinkie against Texas on Thursday. Gutierrez, the center fielder who has four homers and a team-leading 10 RBIs, had not started the past three games because of leg soreness.
For Morse, the return comes at the low end of the team's expected window of three to seven days. The slugger, who was put in the cleanup spot for Tuesday night's game against Detroit, used Monday's off-day to work out and hit in the cage, and he said Tuesday he was pain-free. Gutierrez was put in at the leadoff spot in the continued absence of outfielder Michael Saunders, who's on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder.
"I feel good," Morse said. "I do an overlapping grip, which helps me a lot. And it's my top hand and I'm a bottom-hand swinger, so maybe this is a good thing for me ... to stop using my top hand."
Morse said it's been difficult to sit out but he's glad he's returning so soon.
"I always tell people I'm a bad bench guy because I want to be in there so bad," Morse said. "We're starting to get a little chemistry together. ... It's so early in the season that anything can happen. I think we're still trying to find ourselves and I just want to be in there, to be a part of this team."
Morse said he didn't think the pinkie would bother him but wasn't sure how it would hold up to the intensity of game action.
"I'll know once I take a bad swing out there," he said.
Medina called up to replace injured Pryor
SEATTLE -- The Mariners saw a Major League debut last week with reliever Bobby LaFromboise, and they'll likely soon see another.
The club called up 24-year-old right-hander Yoervis Medina from Triple-A Tacoma to take the place of Stephen Pryor, who went on the 15-day disabled list with a tear in his right lat muscle, incurred during Sunday afternoon's win over Texas.
Medina was 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA in four appearances for the Rainiers, giving up one run on two hits in six innings. He struck out seven and walked three.
"He made an impression on us this spring, but even more of an impression … last winter," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He was the guy to come up here and fill that role. He'll be ready to pitch tonight, and obviously we'll keep a close eye on him, this being his first time, but good for him."
As for Pryor, Wedge said the injury was relatively severe.
"We're going to see how it calms down here, but it's a substantial strain of the lat," Wedge said. "How long is it going to be? We really don't know yet. Obviously long enough for him to go on the DL, but we're probably looking beyond that as well, beyond the two weeks."
For Medina, the dream come true of being in the Major Leagues was evident in the beaming smile on his face as he met the local media for the first time.
"It's a great opportunity," Medina said. "I'm very happy."
Mariners spend first off-day of season in Seattle
SEATTLE -- Monday marked the Mariners' first off-day of the year after playing 14 straight games to open the season. Seattle was the last team in the Majors to receive an off-day.
Veteran outfielder Jason Bay, who's in his first season with the Mariners, said it was a necessary and enjoyable day to settle into the city.
"If there's a time to not have any days off, I guess early on is the best way to go," Bay said. "Everyone's still feeling somewhat fresh … I mean, not great, but it'll come in handy later.
"I live here, so I got to take my girls to school. It was definitely different to be here and to be able to do that. It was priceless. We've kind of been home, but not really, so it was nice to actually spend a day at home, and I'm sure a lot of these other guys were getting their places set up and looking around Seattle a little bit. So it was a nice day yesterday, all around."
• Wedge started backup catcher Kelly Shoppach behind the plate for the third time in four games and sat starter Jesus Montero. Entering Tuesday, Shoppach had recorded a hit in four of his five starts and was batting .467 overall. Montero was batting .211 with no homers and two RBIs.
"I like what Shoppy's been doing back there, and I like matching him up with [starter] Aaron [Harang] for his first start tonight," Wedge said. "I think that's important. There's different things that run into it each day. He's just still working to be the overall player that he needs to be, and I think if you give him a couple days here and there, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing this early in the year."
• Entering Tuesday, outfielder Raul Ibanez had hits in five of his last seven games after opening the season 0-for-7.
• Entering Tuesday, third baseman Kyle Seager was tied for the American League lead with six doubles, including a pair of multi-double games.