Franklin Gutierrez Update
As Dave mentioned, that the M’s are hanging with the AL West leaders despite missing their starting CF is a welcome surprise. Given the M’s poor defensive numbers thus far (and thus the disparity between the Mariners’ FIP and runs allowed), Gutierrez’s recovery is all the more important. The fact that Michael Saunders still can’t figure out MLB pitching is a factor as well.
First, the good news. Gutierrez has now played three games in three nights, and he’s racked up 12 plate appearances. He’s logged some (uneventful) time in center field, and he’s taken hacks against lefties and righties. Given his fatigue issues in spring training, these ‘accomplishments’ are nothing to sneeze at.
On the other hand, he’s yet to play a full game defensively: he played 5 innings on Monday and Tuesday, then played a full game tonight as the designated hitter. He’s popping a lot of balls up, and his one hit (he’s 1-12) came when strong winds blew what was a normal FB to the LF alley warning track.
Gutierrez’s seemingly undiagnosable intestinal issues sapped him of strength, and they prevented him from getting the kind of reps in during spring training that he needed. That said, it’s great to see him on the field again, and you’ve got to figure he’s on schedule to rejoin the M’s some time in the next month or so. He’s struck out only twice, and he’s just missing the sweet spot. Some BABIP luck and a tiny sample make him look worse than he is, but honestly, he’s yet to hit a line drive. I’d love to report on his defense, but he made zero put-outs in his 10 innings in CF.
The photos below come from the game on Tuesday evening.