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August 12, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Franklin Gutierrez rehab start in Everett delayed by further headaches

Today was the day Franklin Gutierrez was supposed to begin his injury rehabilitation stint with Seattle’s rookie-level Everett squad. But that has now been delayed because of further headache complications he experienced last night.
Gutierrez will visit with doctors again on Monday to try to figure out that to do. Gutierrez hasn’t played since being beaned in the head in June during a pickoff attempt at first base. He has since gotten over the concussion he suffered, but doctors believe the headaches he continues to experience are related to some type of inner ear problem.
The ball Gutierrez was struck with hit him on the side of the face near his ear.
“Now, we’ve got to put the brakes on again,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “So, it’s disappointing.”
Wedge has no idea when Gutierrez will be able to get into a game. He said solving the latest headache problem could be as simple as changing the medication the outfielder has been taking.
“It just makes such an impact on our club,” Wedge said this morning. “You (media) guys saw it. In the outfield, we’ve had a couple of games on this road trip where if we had a different outfield, we’d probably win.
“And just the impact he makes on our lineup, with a right-handed bat with experience that you could really hit anywhere,” Wedge added. “And you know I value that, in this day and age.”
Wedge said he’d like to see Gutierrez play winter ball in the off-season to get some playing time there. At this rate, he won’t be back in the majors until September, if at all, this year and 2012 has quickly become his third consecutive “lost” season of no progress.
While Gutierrez could indeed play winter ball — Venezuela would seem a natural fit, since he’s from there — the Mariners would be foolish to head into 2013 without a backup plan in center. I know that Michael Saunders is playing there now, but, as Wedge said, the team has looked a little short defensively in the outfield corners on this trip. So, you either want Saunders in left field or to bring in additional outfielders this winter who can better play the corners defensively if Saunders has to be a full-time center fielder.

Gutierrez could indeed someday make it back to MLB and stay healthy over the long-haul. But he has not done that since the first half of 2009 and we are now more than three years removed from then.
In 2009, he was slowed by bad knees late in the season. Then, in 2010, he developed those stomach problems that derailed his second half. The problem was not properly diagnosed or treated and pretty much scuttled his 2011 season. This year, he suffered a torn pectoral muscle in spring training, then developed plantar fasciitis while rehabbing.
Now, this concussion, which has morphed into something else and will wind up sidelining him more than two months.
For whatever reason, be it back luck, genetics, coincidence, or whatever, when Gutierrez gets sick, or hurt, he has a hard time recovering. The Mariners can take their chances and go into 2013 again counting on Gutierrez as an everyday player.
But if they do that and it backfires again, it’s going to be tough for Wedge to complain next summer about how it’s impacted the team and not have some of it ring hollow. Gutierrez has one year remaining on his extension, at $7 million base salary plus about $360,000 in a pro-rated signing bonus.
After that, there’s a club option of $7.5 million for 2014 with a $500,000 buyout. At this point, barring a breakout, all-star type campaign from Gutiererez next year, that buyout seems inevitable. But we’ll see. Right now, he just has to find a way past these headaches and back on to a baseball field.
The lineups:
Mariners (52-63)
13 Dustin Ackley (L) 2B
55 Michael Saunders (L) CF
15 Kyle Seager (L) 3B
27 John Jaso (L) DH
63 Jesus Montero C
20 Mike Carp (L) 1B
10 Eric Thames (L) RF
12 Trayvon Robinson (S) LF
26 Brendan Ryan SS
38 Jason Vargas LHP
Angels (60-54)
27 Mike Trout CF
48 Torii Hunter RF
5 Albert Pujols DH
44 Mark Trumbo 1B
47 Howie Kendrick 2B
2 Erick Aybar (S) SS
10 Vernon Wells LF
13 Maicer Izturis (S) 3B
46 Bobby Wilson C
36 Jered Weaver RHP

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan, Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero


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