Franklin Gutierrez was relaxed in his locker Monday. Behind him, his Gold Glove award gleamed.
That was the first thing Gutierrez noticed after arriving from Arizona, where he has been wrangling with a tricky stomach problem that is finally closer to being resolved but is still not understood.
Gutierrez said Monday hes likely to head to Tacoma at the end of the week to get in a handful of minor league at-bats. Hes been at extended spring training while on the 15-day disabled list because of his stomach trouble.
The center fielder played three innings last week and is in the batting cage daily. The most important thing is that Gutierrez is simply able to eat again. He said he lost about 15 pounds during the off-season, but is now gaining back weight, strength and energy.
Medication allows him to eat a healthier diet, though Gutierrez still does not have a favorite vegetable.
Hes hopeful this is the start of resolution for his stomach troubles that chased him from last season through spring training. Hes also hopeful this is the end of another negative feeling. Gutierrez has had enough of not being able to contribute.
Not being able to do that, just makes you feel horrible, Gutierrez said.
Progress has been steady.
I can feel the difference, I feel much better, Gutierrez said. Can you imagine feeling bad every day, every meal? Not easy man, let me tell you. Not easy at all. Fighting with the food and the food youre liking. Its a huge relief right now that I can eat better.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he is going to pace Gutierrez. Wedge wants to see the physical and mental issues that are a result of the illness resolved.
I know the baseball side is going to be a little behind, Wedge said. His energy level, strength and just his mindset. Hes been beaten up a little bit. Just want to see where hes at overall.
He really didnt have a spring. We just got him going. I dont think we need to have him as prepped as that when we get him back, but we have to have him as far enough along to where he can contribute and play on at least a semi-basis.
Wilson back in the lineup
“Unspeakable-gate” has come to an end.
Jack Wilson was back in the Mariners lineup, playing second and hitting ninth. Following his self-removal in Texas April 6, Wilson and Wedge clarified their positions on the transgression with the media and each other.
Monday, Wilson returned to the position he has been trying to learn since being shifted there in spring training. His footwork and timing still need work. Hell receive a live chunk of that Monday.
Wedge said he talked with Wilson again Sunday. Time to move on, according to the manager.
Just one of those bumps in the road and you work through it, Wedge said. Hell be better for it, the team will be better for it and its time for him to get back in there playing.
Wedge also emphatically explained to reporters that this is a new year, a new way of doing things. He said if that was not clear yet to outsiders, it will be.
The way I handle things, are just that, the way I handle things, Wedge said. I made it very clear in spring training in regard to what I expect, respecting the game, being a good teammate, the way we approach our day, being accountable — I said it then, Ill say it now: I dont say one thing, then forget about it the next day, or next week or next year or five years from now. If I say it today, it stands true.
Everything that happens is a case-by-case basis. But, ultimately, everything I do is for these players and the Seattle Mariners organization. Its my job to be sure there is a sense of urgency today, but also that were taking care of tomorrow.