Franklin Gutierrez, the Gold Glove center fielder who’s battled stomach ailments for more than a year, hasn’t played in the Seattle Mariners last four games – isn’t in the lineup today – and is undergoing more medical tests.
“We’ve got to get Franklin to a place where he feels comfortable,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “It’s bothering him, and we’re waiting for more test results. Franklin doesn’t feel strong.”
With a week left in spring training, Gutierrez hasn’t played or taken part in full workouts this week, and probably needs to begin doing so by early next week to be ready to open the 2011 season on April 1.
Zduriencik said there’s time for Gutierrez ‘to get is legs under him’ in the outfield, but that the major focus now is determining what the stomach issue is and how to deal with it.
Tests taken two weeks ago seemed to indicate that Gutierrez had a ‘slow’ digestive system, and recommended dietary changes. Whatever the player and team doctors and trainers have tried to do since has not stopped the problem.
“We’ve got people looking at it, and Franklin has had more tests,” Zduriencik said. “We want to get a handle on this so it’s not an issue for Franklin, and we want to get him comfortable again.”
Should the team open the year with Gutierrez unable to play regularly, he’d likely be placed on the disabled list. The most likely replacements would be left-handed hitting outfielders Michael Saunders or Ryan Langerhans.
The team has time before it has to make that determination – but the time is down to days now, not weeks.