Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez returned to the clubhouse Saturday after spending time at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to seek answers on the chronic stomach ailment that has derailed his season so far.
Gutierrez was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and has been given medication he must take before meals. He sat at his locker before the Mariners’ game against Oakland and had a look of relief mixed with the lingering frustration that comes with being kept off the field.
“I’ve been having this a long time and nobody knew what I had, so knowing now this is what I have (and) can be treatable makes me feel better mentally and now I want to feel better physically, too, to get ready and be here again,” Gutierrez said. “It’s going to take time for the medicine to work. Let’s see how it goes.”
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said there is no timetable for Gutierrez’s return to the lineup, but he will travel the team on its six-game road trip to Detroit and Boston.
“That confirmation, I think, is key for piece of mind,” Wedge said of the diagnosis. “Now it’s just about treatment. They’ve got an initial treatment that they think will work. We’re going to take him on the road and, hopefully, daily he can be involved in our pregame routine and then we’ll take it from there.”
Since he has yet to play a regular-season game, Gutierrez is left to cling to the relief that comes with the diagnosis, hope that the medication works and he can return to his role as the Mariners’ everyday center fielder.
“You start thinking bad things and whatever, because you don’t have a diagnosis,” he said. “Now, knowing this, it makes me feel relaxed, knowing that at least I have medication that can be the cure and hope to feel better. That’s what I want.”
Aardsma pitches well in Tacoma
Mariners closer David Aardsma made his second appearance for Class AAA Tacoma Friday and pitched one scoreless inning. He allowed one hit and struck out one, throwing 15 pitches, 11 strikes.
“Three or four (minor-league appearances) was what we were thinking about as long as all things keep going well,” Wedge said. “He threw the ball even better last night. He’s probably hopping a plane right now. We’re going to have him pitch tomorrow again and then evaluate it from there.”
Once Aardsma returns to the bullpen, Wedge said he will give the right-hander several opportunities in non-save situations.
“When he’s ready he’ll go back as our closer,” Wedge said. “When David is unavailable, (Brandon) League will have those opportunities.”
Bradley resting his back
After leaving Friday’s game in the third inning with lower back spasms, outfielder Milton Bradley was given the day off Saturday.
“I felt it was best to give him another day,” Wedge said. “He’s going to come out here and take a few swings. We’ll see how he feels with that.”
Carlos Peguero got the start in left field, while Michael Saunders, who replaced Bradley Friday, was in the lineup in center field.
“The back is a tricky thing,” Wedge said. “He’s had that from time to time in the past before.”