SEATTLE -- The Mariners' hot stretch of play over the past month has been all the more surprising given that the team has been without two of its better hitters, outfielders Michael Morse and Franklin Gutierrez, who have been injured for much of the season. Seattle, which leads the Majors with an average of 6.4 runs per game scored in July entering Monday's game, may receive a boost to the lineup soon as those two players prepare for rehab starts in Triple-A.
Morse made a rehab start Monday night as the designated hitter for Tacoma, and will gradually see more use in the field. He hasn't played since being placed on the disabled list with a strained right quad on June 22, retroactive to June 21.
"We worked him out pretty good in the outfield and on the basepaths today, he looked really good," manager Eric Wedge said before Monday's game. "He'll play right field tomorrow for five innings."
The slugger was hitting .254 with 11 home runs through the first two months of the season, but struggled in June because of his lingering injury.
Gutierrez has often struggled with injury, missing at least 50 games in each of the last three seasons. After going on the disabled list on April 22, Gutierrez returned on June 22 to hit a home run and a double in Seattle's 7-5 win over Oakland. He left the next game in the seventh inning after running into the wall, and hasn't played since.
The center fielder will make his first rehab start for Tacoma on Tuesday as the designated hitter. When healthy, Gutierrez is regarded as one of the best defensive center fielders in the Majors and an able hitter. In his 18 games with Seattle this season, the 30-year old is hitting .267 with an .874 OPS.
'Dizzy' Wedge taken to hospital for precaution
SEATTLE -- Mariners manager Eric Wedge was taken to a local hospital before Monday night's game as a precautionary measure after what was described as a "dizzy spell" during batting practice. Bench coach Robby Thompson filled in for Wedge at Monday's opening win against the Indians, and Wedge is expected to return to the team on Tuesday.
"He should be fine I'm sure the 'W' is going to help him out a little bit. When [Charlie] Furbush hit the first guy, hit [Michael] Bourne, I think maybe it rustled him around a little bit in his bed," joked Thompson.
Wedge spent the night in the hospital, and the Mariners are awaiting the results of further tests.
"He's fine, he's been evaluated by our doctors, everything looks good, really good," general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "What we're doing is, we'll be very cautious about this. He's going to get checked tonight, we're going to run him up to the hospital just to make sure we cover all of our bases."
Many of the players were unaware that anything was wrong with Wedge until just before the game. Others, who were in the dugout when the manager began to feel dizzy, came to his aid.
"I didn't know about it until right after batting practice," said Aaron Harang, who started on Monday night. "Jack came in and told us he was going to get checked out, and some of the guys that were out there in the field saw that he wasn't feeling well. It kind of threw me back for a minute when I heard the news, so we're just glad he's feeling alright."
Seattle rookie Miller wins AL Player of the Week
SEATTLE -- As a little leaguer, shortstop Brad Miller's team was always called The Mariners in honor of his and his teammates' favorite player: Seattle's Ken Griffey Jr. And Miller always wore number 24, just like The Kid.
On Tuesday, he took another stride in the footsteps of his idol, becoming the first Mariners rookie to win the American League Player of the Week Award since Griffey did it in 1989, six months before Miller was born.
"Obviously he's my favorite player of all time, so I mean that was kind of surreal," Miller said. "Just being mentioned with him and obviously growing up a Mariners fan and a Jr. fan, [it] was pretty surreal."
The Mariners swept the Astros in the week following the All-Star break thanks in large part to the first-year player's contributions. In three games against Houston, Miller hit .385 (5-for-13) with four runs scored, two home runs and seven RBIs with a 1.346 OPS. It is the first AL Player of the Week Award for the Mariners this season.
Miller's best day came on Friday, when he hit his first two career home runs and collected five RBIs. His parents watched from the stands, having made the trip from Orlando, Fla., to see him take on the Astros.
"It was awesome, that's one of the closest spots for them from home," Miller said. "Just getting to share that with them after the game, getting to give them the home run balls after the game was pretty cool."
The 23-year-old has had an immediate impact on the Mariners, and it's no coincidence that the team's recent offensive surge overlaps with the decision to call up the young shortstop. Since making his debut on June 28, Miller has hit .270 with an .830 OPS while playing well defensively. His hot hitting has helped Seattle score 6.4 runs per game in July entering Monday's game, the best in the Majors.
"You know what, he's done a heck of a job since he's been up here," manager Eric Wedge said. "He's been very consistent, he provides energy, has some sock in his bat, moves around well both defensively and on the basepaths. Again, just the person that he is and the maturity he has for such a young man, I think that sticks out as much as anything."
Miller has reached base safely in 14 of his first 19 games, and he's scored 12 times for the Mariners. The left-handed hitter is batting .309 with a .377 on-base percentage in 15 games played at shortstop. Miller has played 13 games as Seattle's leadoff man and is batting .296 in those games.
• On Friday, the Mariners will host Allergy Awareness Night sponsored by Mylan Specialty L.P. as they face off against the Twins. Three special seating sections will be set aside exclusively for people and families of those individuals who live with severe peanut allergies.
The intent is to allow those who cannot regularly attend games because of the presence of the popular snack an opportunity to see a game without worry. Tickets are just $11 and can be purchased at www.mariners.com/nopeanuts.
• Seattle center fielder Michael Saunders is on a career-high 10-game hitting streak. Over that span he's hitting .351 (13-for-37) with a home run, a triple and five doubles.
• Seattle's six-game winning streak is its longest of the season, and the longest active winning streak in the Majors.
Jacob Thorpe is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.