When the Seattle Mariners sent outfielder Franklin Gutierrez to the Mayo Clinic last week, they did so having already diagnosed his stomach ailment as irritable bowel syndrome.
A few dozen tests later, the clinic came to the same conclusion – and sent Gutierrez home to the Mariners clubhouse.
“Now, it’s a matter of treatment and getting the dosage right, because everybody’s different,” manager Eric Wedge said. “Franklin will go on the road with us, do our pregame work with the team and we’ll see how he comes along.
“There’s no timetable. When we see his strength and energy level come around, then we’ll know he’s close to playing again.”
Almost certainly, Gutierrez will play in the minors before he takes center field with Seattle. He missed all but six spring training games, and has lost weight, stamina and time to his condition.
“I need to take some medication and see if it works,” Gutierrez said. “At least I know something and it can be treated. It’s not something that’s going to go away right away.”
There is no known cure, only treatments to relieve symptoms.
“This is probably something I’m going to have my whole life and just try and manage this as best as I can,” Gutierrez said. “The main thing for me, at least I’m eating now.”
Reliever David Aardsma will throw “one or two” more times with the Tacoma Rainiers, the team said – but Aardsma used Twitter to announce he was scheduled to pitch today and Tuesday for the Rainiers.
Aardsma will be evaluated after today’s outing, and while it’s possible he could be recalled by the Mariners, it seems just as likely he’ll make a fourth relief appearance with Tacoma.
What happens when he returns? Rookie Tom Wilhelmsen is the easy choice to be sent out to make room, but right-hander Chris Ray has struggled badly and could be the odd-man out.
Watch for the Mariners to try to get Ray into a game the next few days to see if the work he and pitching coach Carl Willis have done lately pays off.
Milton Bradley’s back spasms forced him out of the game Friday and he wasn’t quite ready to start on Saturday. Will he play today? With an off-day scheduled Monday, Wedge might just give Bradley today and Monday to fully rest his back. ... The consecutive shutouts against the Athletics marked the 15th time in franchise history Seattle pitchers had thrown back-to-back shutouts. The last time? September of 2001. ... Reliever Shawn Kelley threw a bullpen session Saturday and for the first time threw sliders along with fastballs, and did so without discomfort in his surgically repaired right elbow.
Seattle concludes this homestand with a 1:10 p.m. game today with Oakland that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Bret Anderson (1-1, 1.63 ERA) vs. Doug Fister (1-3, 3.60).