Franklin Gutierrez was once again on the dugout bench for the series finale with the Mariners now admitting the disabled list could be his...

ARLINGTON, Texas — Franklin Gutierrez was once again on the dugout bench for the series finale with the Mariners now admitting the disabled list could be his next step if he can’t play more consecutive games this week.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge said before Sunday’s game he didn’t want to use Gutierrez in the day game after Saturday night’s contest out of fear his stiff legs would not hold up. Wedge plans to play Gutierrez in consecutive games this week against Houston.

“It’s just a process of trying to help him get over the hump,” Wedge said. “I mean, if we play him again today, it’s going to be another step back. If we give him today, then hopefully we can start pulling back-to-back days with him. That would be the plan.”

And if that plan fails, the 15-day DL is an option.

“If this keeps up, down the road it is,” Wedge said. “We’re trying to avoid that, but if it keeps up, that would be our only other option.”

The Mariners might not be able to avoid that option much longer, especially with Michael Saunders eligible to return off the DL as early as Friday. That would leave the club with six outfielders and Wedge has hinted that’s one too many.

Note

Michael Morse hit an eighth-inning double to snap an 0-for-16 slump. Morse has looked off-balance at the plate since his quick return from a broken finger suffered when hit by a pitch April 11 against Texas.

“There’s no excuses for it,” Morse said of his hitting since returning to action. “That’s baseball. You get hurt and you have to come back and play. You have to get over it.”

Morse hit .293 with six homers his first 10 games, but is hitting .125 with no homers in six games since his return.