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March 25, 2011 at 9:16 AM

Jack Zduriencik: Franklin Gutierrez has to play this weekend, or go on DL

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Franklin Gutierrez is going to have another test today here in Peoria, Ariz. that the Mariners hope will help them figure out what’s wrong with his stomach. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said that, if the test can get done this morning, he can have the results within 24 hours.

Zduriencik said time is running out for Gutierrez to get back on the field.
“I would think that he’d have to play this weekend,” Zduriencik said. “If he can’t get in a game this weekend, we’ll probably have to start looking at alternatives.”


Zduriencik added that, before Gutierrez can get in a game, the medical tests have to indicate that he has a condition that can be managed.
“If it’s something where they say, ‘Yeah, this is what it is and all he has to do is this, this and this’ then it’s something we can work with,” he said. “But we don’t know what it is yet. Until we do, there’s nothing we can do except wait.”
Zduriencik said he’s been inundated with emails and phone calls from concerned fans offering suggestions about what Gutierrez might have. He confirmed that, with so many millions invested in Gutierrez, the team has him being looked at by top specialists.
Gutierrez has been limited to just nine Cactus League appearances this spring. If he does go on the DL, the club would likely keep Michael Saunders to start the season and split time in center with backup outfielder Ryan Langerhans.
On yesterday’s Geoff Baker Live!, we showed you M’s manager Eric Wedge answering a question about when the cut-off date is for Gutierrez to get back on the field so he won’t have to start the season on the DL. Here’s the clip of that post-game exchange.
No, Wedge did not sound very confident about Gutierrez making it back in time.
Here’s what Wedge had to say about Saunders and his revamped batting stance, something that could come into play quite early this season if Gutierrez can’t make the opening bell.
In other news, Miguel Olivo will catch tonight’s split-squad game against the Dodgers. Olivo will be on the Opening Day roster as long as he does not suffer a setback between now and then.

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