That was my general reaction to seeing Franklin Gutierrez return to the DL after literally a game and a half off of it. His injury didn’t come as a surprise, and it’s not like the Mariners magically improved with his return to the lineup, but whatever hope they had with him back in it seems to have been quickly extinguished.
However, his replacement on the 25-man roster could erase my depression towards the loss of Guti pretty quickly with some solid play. Seeing Dustin Ackley’s name in a Mariner lineup again makes me feel sensitive as a fan, since his failure so far in 2013 is a major point of contention with the organization as a whole.
This time around, he’s rebranded himself as an outfielder. With Nick Franklin clearly entrenched as the second baseman of the future, the Mariners were forced to convert the second overall pick in the 2009 draft to a position of weakness. But will Ackley’s bat improve as a result of the change? Won’t making him an outfielder actually put more pressure on him to perform, since outfielders are expected to perform better than second basemen?
All of these are legitimate concerns heading into tonight, when the Mariners take on the second-best team in baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates. That’s a thing that’s happening. The Pirates are filthy. Ackley isn’t in the lineup, and neither is Gutierrez. The M’s will have to just keep plodding along, hoping their injury and underperformance problems somehow solve themselves. Good luck with that.