Mariners Insider

Gutierrez down – for 4 weeks – but not out

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on Feb. 29, 2012 at 5:40 pm with 29 Comments »
February 29, 2012 5:40 pm

Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez won’t participate in baseball activities for at least four weeks because of a partially torn pectoral muscle, then will be re-evaluated on a week-to-week basis.

That means Gutierrez, 29, could technically begin playing about the time the Seattle Mariners open the regular season on March 28 in Tokyo – and certainly could join them upon their return from Japan, when they don’t play another game that counts until April 6.

Gutierrez, injured Tuesday while throwing in a routine outfield drill, had an MRI and then flew to Seattle on Wednesday to be examined by team doctor  E. Edward Khalfayan.

Barring unforseen complications, the diagnosis means Gutierrez shouldn’t miss more than a week or two of the regular season. In his absence, the Mariners have several players – including Michael Saunders, Casper Wells and Chone Figgins – capable of playing center field.

Leave a comment Comments → 29
  1. chadworth64 says:

    Its better news than having Guti out for the year. Will he eventually need surgery for this? How does this compare with Tavaris Jackson’s injury?

  2. flyingdutchman says:

    Stretching is the key word here. Americans don’t stretch enough. Use Ichiro as your example of someone who keeps limber.

  3. I am so sick of hearing “Figgy can play here” or “Figgy can play over here”.

    CAN WE PLEASE RELEASE HIM & PUT US FANS OUT OF OUR MISERY??

    In more seriousness, if the press (not just you Larry, everyone seems to be saying this) is right & Wells, Saunders & possibly Pegeuero are ready to be everyday players who have power THERE IS NO PLACE FOR FIGGINS.

    Additionally, I don’t want to give Jack z the chance to say “we have too many quality OF prospects” & trade one of them. He WILL pick the wrong one to trade (See Fister, Doug; & Morse, Mike).

    And Yes, Z needs to be demoted to minor league director where he’d obviously do a tremendous job (just like Bavasi Z seems to be much better at judging minor league talent than major) & let’s steal Billy Bean from Oakland. Beane would have a holiday with our payroll. As low as it is, it’s 2x what he’s used to!

  4. wabubba67 says:

    Any word on how Gutierrez was able to put on 25 pounds of muscle in a few months?? It does make reasonable people wonder if it was done correctly…and now an injury (were the ligaments and tendons not able to keep up?).

    Z will be fine. The Detroit trade needs a couple of years to be judged accurately (in the short term, the Tigers also did well in the Doyle Alexander/John Smoltz trade….in the long term, I don’t think any Braves fans still complain about that deal).

    Beane was as much a creation of young, great pitching that year (Mulder, Hudson, and Zito) as he was innovative and insightful individual work. Hasn’t done much since.

    We’re stuck with Figgins for awhile…better love him and hope he comes around. So far, so good in 2012. He still had a higher OBP than Ichiro in 2011.

  5. Wabub, the conspiracy theory doesn’t get much traction with me because 1) Guti was 18 pounds underweight by season’s end, so he only added 7 pounds to his playing weight; and 2)he had five months to get strong. I do question his routine if he built up his pecs at the expense of his core and his long muscles, but I’m no doc.

    So much for speculation; now for a fact. Hate to burst your bubble, but in 2011 Chone Figgens OBP was thirty points lower than Ichiro’s BATTING AVERAGE, let alone his OBP. As Casey Stengel used to say, you could look it up.

  6. Wabubba, learn something about physiology and nutrition before you speak! Guti was at LEAST 20 pounds below his normal/playing weight at the end of last year because of his intestinal issues. So he really just RECOVERED to his NORMAL weight. This is much EASIER and takes much LESS EFFORT than someone adding 25 pounds to their playing weight that they have maintained for a number of years! You have a good point about the Detroit trade but, it sure doesn’t look that great right now. Fister even pitched much better after he was traded. If Fister stays healthy and continues his current career trajectory, then either Martinez or Wells better turn into a legit middle of the lineup hitter soon and Ruffin better be a good setup man or this was a bad trade! I don’t have much hope that old Furrybush will ever be anything more than an average LH long relief pitcher.

    LOL timeout. Never let the facts get in the way of your argument!

    As far as Guti goes, more positive news for the Mariners. Sarcasm! A silver lining is that at least it will give us a chance to audition Wells, Robinson, Peguero, and/or Saunders for the RF position in 2013.

  7. Moo, I agree that we are stupid if we play Figgins in the outfield! Too many young players that deserve a chance out there. I am alright with giving Figgins one last chance over at third base. Best case scenario, he gets hot in the first half and we’re able to unload him for some prospects, while having to pick up at least a good portion of his salary. Right now we have to pay 100 % of his salary and couldn’t trade him for a bag of balls. If he continues to suck then we just get rid of him and put either Seager or Liddi out there.

  8. wabubba67 says:

    My fault…you guys are absolutely correct regarding Figgins/Ichiro OBP. It’s .241 v. .310. (I thought I remembered someone credible telling me that.)

    bbnate–I actually do know a little bit about physiology and nutrition. I was a health teacher for 15 years after being a PE minor at UPS. In the short period that Gutierrez had (a few months), it is inconceivable that he could put on 25 pounds of solid muscle after degenerating (atrophy) due to his IBS. I remain skeptical that a player, who had to be somewhat desperate to regain his position within the organization, would be able to gain that much muscle mass in such a short period of time exclusively through hard work. He came in ripped. (After losing 30 pounds due to a bad breakup years ago, and then eating again and working out afterwards, I can assure you that the weight and muscle mass does not come back that quickly.)

  9. Regarding Ichiro/Figgins, there are a number of folks out there that haven’t looked up the numbers. They assume that through his career Figgins gets on base more than Ichiro. Not true; Ichi’s career OBP is 20 points higher than Figgins’.

    It’s quite possible that Figgins, five years younger than Ichiro, could prove to be a better leadoff hitter at this stage of their respective careers IF Figgins returns to his ’07-’09 form, or close to it. That’s the diceroll for the M’s management, and I hope they’re right. I want all the M’s players to flourish. That’s why the Gutierrez injury is such a disappointment.

  10. jchawks08 says:

    Based on another article I just read here, Saunders is a sure-fire All-Star this year, so losing Goot doesn’t hurt too much. :D
    I love reading about all our young guys.. Sounds like everyone is performing admirably thus far in camp. Larry, or someone else that is there keeping tabs on the team, give us some bad news about the team. Who looks awful? Who can’t get any outs? Who can’t hit the ball? Don’t get me wrong, I love the good stuff, but would like to hear the whole story. Who did Catricala (sp?) light up for his 5 hits? Who did Saunders get his x-tra base hits against?

  11. footballscaa says:

    If he needs surgery, please get it done now, not in 2 months.

  12. wabubba67 says:

    In 2009, the last year that Figgins was a leadoff hitter, his average was .298 while his OBP was .395 (had a ridiculous 101 walks that year)…Ichiro has surpassed that OBP only twice in his career.

    For his career, Figgins is a .280 hitter (yes, the last two years hurt a bit), but still has a .352 OBP. By comparison, Ichiro is a career .326 hitter while maintaining a .370 OBP.

    The wider disparity between BA and OBP for Figgins, indicates to me a batter that is relatively more willing to make a pitcher work while allowing the 2-5 hitters an opportunity to gauge the pitcher’s patterns and stuff on that particular day. I am hoping that Ichiro will revive his career from the #3 hole with a different stance and approach…but I do like the move to put Figgins at the top of the lineup. By doing so, you place a hitter where he is historically MUCH more productive and eliminate all excuses that Figgins might have.

  13. hawkfan777 says:

    Moo and others…

    The ideal situation with Figgens would be that he has major success the first part of this year and he could be traded before the trade deadline. I dont believe the Mariners are going to use him long term but they want to get some value out of him. The organization has spent a lot on him and it will make the sting hurt a little less if they were able to get something in return for him. He just doesnt have a long term home in this ball club. The Mariners arent going to the World Series this year anyway so why not get as much as you possibly can from the guy? Keep him on the bench or releasing him makes no sense at all even if he has been inept so far for the Mariners. Trust me, I am just as frustrated with him as you but the best business decision is to play the guy. If he can play like he did before he came to the M’s they will be able to get something for him that will improve the ball club for years to come.

  14. tomiron24 says:

    wabubba67,whatever.
    You lost all credibility with your claim that “Figgins still had a higher OBP than Ichiro in 2011.”

    Thankfully there are people out there who will call you out on such trash and see your anti-Ichiro agenda for what it is. If I’m not mistaken I think I’ve seen such comments from you before.

    I love that you try to insert such false soundbites disparaging Ichiro into a discussion on Guti’s injury.

    Getting back to Guti, the recent news updates on his injury don’t sound bad, but we’ve also seen this movie before last year, when “some stomach discomfort” became a fullblown crisis which practically wiped away his season.

    Saunders has the potential tools and he seems to look good so far this spring from what has been reported. He may be the only viable option now, considering defense also.

  15. bbnate, much as I hate to admit it, good point!

  16. Clarify my last post: I am agreeing with Bbnate’s point about Figgins. I don’t know enough about Physical fitness to have an opinion either way!

  17. The idea that seeing two or three pitches more a game is more important than getting on base more often per game…that, to me, seems like an agenda. The fact is that, even in 2007-2009, when Figgins was at his best, Ichiro’s OPS (for example) was higher each of those years. (Call 2007 a wash, because it was very close.) In the ten years both played, Ichiro stole 367 bases as opposed to 333 for Figgins, who has been presented to us as a consummate base stealer, and did so with considerably more efficiency. I could go on, but my point is, those who wanted Ichiro to move in the lineup so Figgins could lead off were asking for the better player to accommodate the lesser player, ostensibly for the good of the team. Now we’ll find out whether, in 2012, that concept works. It will be interesting. We’ll never know whether it would have worked in previous years.

    Sorry for the diversion, all; I’m really hoping Saunders, Wells, or both can come through in Guti’s absence. Like all M’s fans, I was hoping for a breakout year for Franklin. I wasn’t about to bet on it.

  18. wabubba67 says:

    tomiron–it’s better to have had credibility and lost it, than to have never had any credibility at all. When I made a mistake, I admitted it immediately.

    For clarification, I was comparing Figgens leading off v. Figgens batting elsewhere in the lineup. Not Figgens leading off v. Ichiro leading off.

  19. wabubba67 says:

    Looked up the pitches per plate appearance for both Figgins and Ichiro. Ichiro’s career average is 3.60 pitches per PA, while Figgins is 4.03. Ichiro’s best year was 3.88…which would be below Figgins’ worst year ever.

    By contrast the MLB average of all players (not just leadoff hitters) is 3.76.

    It doesn’t seem like much of a difference until the cummulative effect over 162 games takes hold. Roughly three more pitches per game, Figgins will likely see nearly 500 more pitches than Ichiro over the course of a season…or about 5 outings by a starting pitcher. That is what a leadoff hitter is supposed to do in order to benefit those batting behind him. Again, I wish both of them well in 2012, but the correct man is now batting leadoff.

  20. wabubba67 says:

    Slight correction…Ichiro’s best year was 3.76, Figgins’ worst year was 3.88.

    The best leadoff hitter, in my opinion, Rickey Henderson had a career mark of 4.34 pitches seen per PA.

  21. Regarding pitches, in ten seasons Figgins has seen 20,541; in eleven, Ichiro has seen 29,092. Keep digging.

    Ricky Henderson was the best leadoff hitter I’ve ever seen for many reasons. Hitting out of that crouch to create a small strike zone, and taking advantage of it, was one. But if that’s the only thing he’d ever done, he’d be a footnote like Eddie Gaedel.

  22. Wabubba, I was probably too harsh with you and, I don’t know for sure what Guti did to regain his weight. I just don’t like accusations being leveled at someone with no real proof. It is definitely not out of the realm of possibility that he regained his weight naturally. He had 5 months! Also, I’m sure not 100% of the weight he gained was muscle. After I contract ed Hep A I lost about 10-15 pounds. I gained it back within a couple of weeks without doing anything out of the regular. A lot of it is water weight when you are not eating or drinking well.

  23. footballscaa says:

    Bickering already? Awesome!

  24. wabubba67 says:

    tomiron–it is pitches per plate appearance that is important. Figgins leads by a wide margin…the difference of five starting pitchers over a full season.

    As your article claimed, Ichiro may have been the leadoff hitter of the 2000s….unfortunately for you it is now 2012.

    Good morning!

  25. wabubba67 says:

    tomiron–Ichiro has 8060 PAs v. Figgins 5091 PAs…so, almost 3000 more PAs in his career and only about 8500 more pitches. You actually made my argument for me…thank you!

    bbnate–It’s OK. I dislike accusations too, that’s why I was careful with my wording. The rapid weight gain of muscle followed by a rather strange injury for a baseball player just caused one of my eyebrows to be raised.

  26. wabub–we’re probably both getting tired of this, but, to wrap this up from my side, you’ve missed my point. Who wrote this:

    “…my point is, those who wanted Ichiro to move in the lineup so Figgins could lead off were asking for the better player to accommodate the lesser player, ostensibly for the good of the team. Now we’ll find out whether, in 2012, that concept works. It will be interesting. We’ll never know whether it would have worked in previous years.”

    Well, I wrote it. I’m perfectly fine with the ‘Figgy first’ experiment in 2012. My beef is with the idea that, over a career, Figgins’ patience at the plate–and whatever else he has brought to the table–has made him a better leadoff hitter than Ichiro. And by the way, that was exactly the argument of many in 2010; don’t know what you were arguing then. Career for career, Figgins has not been in Ichiro’s league as a leadoff hitter.

    In 2012, with Ichiro at 38 and Figgins at 34, Figgins may be a better choice to leadoff than Ichiro. Now that I’ve written it twice, if no one else is bored, I am.

  27. wabubba67 says:

    Yes, I am a little bored of this, too.

    My contention with your statement (yes, I did read it the first time) is that Ichiro is (and has been) the better leadoff hitter. To be clear, I agree with you that Ichiro is the better all around player.

    Ichiro has had the tools to be the better leadoff hitter, but he never embraced the mentality of what is sometimes required from that position in the lineup. Patience at that plate is just one of those factors (though the one that is most easily tracked through statistics).

    For example, last season Blake Beavan was making one of his first starts (maybe even his MLB debut) in San Diego and had a rough inning early in the game. He had thrown a lot of pitches during that inning on a warm night when, as a young pitcher, his adrenaline was surely flowing. When it was the Mariners turn to come to bat, Beavan (in the #9 hole) had just made the second out of the inning while running hard to first. In this situation, I would expect any batter (and definitely a veteran leadoff, future HoF player) to take his time to the batter’s box…maybe even tie his shoe before stepping in…take a few pitches and step out of the box in between pitches…perhaps even develop a spec of dirt in his eye that the trainer would have to take the time to flush out before proceeding with his at bat. All of these methods of gamesmanship have been used for decades by leadoff batters seeking to protect their pitcher’s endurance. Instead, Ichiro promptly entered the batter’s box and flew out to LF on the first pitch just as Beavan was re-entering the dugout.

    There are times when a leadoff hitter has to protect the interests of the team more than his specific individual AB…Ichiro never seemed willing to grasp that concept. The two out bunts with a runner at second base, with the third basemen conceding a bunt single to a HoF hitter in order to prevent a run, do not help the team. (As a contrast, Tony Gwynn called the opposite field single with two outs and nobody on the easiest and most worthless hit in all of baseball…that was one of the few situations in which he would try to drive the ball for power.)

    I am not anti-Ichiro…I am pro-Mariner. As such, I want Ichiro to do well from the #3 spot in the lineup or wherever Wedge decides to place him in the future (including a possible return to leadoff)…there were just too many instances when I was frustrated with his approach at #1.

  28. We disagree about Ichiro. Cheers.

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