Franklin Gutierrez is back with the Mariners today, but is still awaiting the results of extensive testing he had done in Seattle.
“It was a long day for me,” he said of the tests.
Gutierrez told me he has been bothered by stomach issues since spring training a year ago. At first, he said, it wasn’t all that bad. But as the season progressed, it became more and more troublesome, preventing him from eating the way a professional athlete has to in order to perform.
By August, the problems were having a clear impact on his game.
“I don’t want to blame it on that,” he said of his nosedive in offensive stats in the second half, “but yeah, just a little bit because it’s all related to the stomach. You need to eat well to play.”
Gutierrez arrived in camp thinking he had the issue under control. He’d undergone tests in his native Venezuela back in Noverber, the same week he won his first Gold Glove award. His agent, Wil Polidor, confirmed at the time that Gutierrez had been suffering from stomach pains and underwent testing for two hours in a local hospital.
At first, Gutierrez said he didn’t feel anything upon arriving at camp last week.
But then, he said, he started to experience another mild flare-up “off and on” and the Mariners decided to get a handle on it.
They flew him up to Seattle to undergo a battery of tests that can get to the bottom of what’s been impacting him.
Just as importantly, they want to devise a treatment plan that will enable Gutierrez to cope with the problem more effectively should it arise again.
“I guess when we get the results back, they’ll tell me what I can and can’t eat,” he said.
Gutierrez guessed that ice cream might be on the list. He said he tends not to feel great after eating it.
The doctors back in Seattle might also prescribe medication he can take. Gutierrez grew so weak at one point in early September that he began hyperventilating during a game in Oakland.
He sat out a bit after that. But other than that episode, he noted, he was still able to keep playing regularly.
Still, while his defense continued to be top-notch, his offense declined dramatically.
And while Gutierrez doesn’t want to blame his hitting woes on his stomach issues, you can tell he feels it had a big impact. Ask Gutierrez what he’s like to do differently at the plate this year and his answer tells you all you need to know.
“The only thing I want right now is to be healthy for the entire year,” he said. “I just want to be healthy. If I’m healthy for an entire year, you’re going to see. It’s going to be a big year for me.”