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February 24, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Franklin Gutierrez flies to Seattle to see doctor about ongoing stomach issues

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Don’t forget to tune in to Geoff Baker Live! at 6:30 p.m. PT, where we’ll be able to chat about Franklin Gutierrez and the latest surrounding the team.
Franklin Gutierrez did not take part in this morning’s workouts, flying to Seattle to have doctors check him out because of a stomach issue ongoing since late last year.
Gutierrez has suffered from occasional severe stomach pains since the second half of last season. He underwent an endoscopy exam in Venezuela back in November and has been attempting, through various tests, to find out what the problem is.
I’m told that Gutierrez’s condition is not a serious illness or a life threatening issue, but something he’ll have to find a way to get a handle on — possibly through medication. There’s a good chance that’s what he’s going to try to resolve up in Seattle.
“He was fine but I think it’s still hanging around a bit,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
The big problem when these pains strike Gutierrez is that he has trouble eating, something that plagued him down the stretch last year. His numbers drop-off could almost certainly be largely explained away by that.
Gutierrez told reporters upon arriving in camp last week that he felt fine and that the pains were no longer bothering him. But obviously, that’s changed in recent days.
I asked Wedge whether he was concerned this might be something that follows Gutierrez around this entire season.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “I’m optimistic with him physically.”

Gutierrez is obviously a key part of the team’s plan this year and going forward. Getting him able to manage his discomfort is something the team will obviously need to figure out.
Wedge did say that he plans to give Gutierrez a few more days off this coming season. It’s something he says he felt he should have done in Cleveland, when Gutierrez struggled through a tough season in 2008.
Gutierrez may not play in tomorrow’s intrasquad game. It depends on whether he flies back here from Seattle tonight or tomorrow.
Other than Gutierrez, Wedge plans to get all his position players some game time.
“That’s the grand plan, to get everybody in there,” he said.
The one thing, though, is he can’t guarantee everyone will have an at-bat. At minimum, he hopes to get all players in the field for an inning.
During today’s pop-up drills, the Mariners nearly lost their spring training co-ordinator. Third base coach Jeff Datz was manning the (Juggs) pop-up machine, inserting baseballs into it and sending them into the air in various directions.
But at one point, he let fly a straight pop-up right behind the plate. As seen in the video above, as players charged towards the plate screaming, Datz began to notice that the ball was heading straight for him.
Datz covered his head with his hands at the last second and the ball missed hitting him by about an inch.
Much laughter and catcalling ensued from players yelling at Datz to “Pay attention!”
“If it had hit that little beanie on top, there would have been blood dripping down his face, I can tell you that,” Wedge said.
So, the Mariners are down one center fielder. But they still have all of their coaches present and accounted for.

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