PEORIA, Ariz. - Franklin Gutierrez has been battling stomach pain for a year and a half. Two weeks ago, it got so bad that the Mariners flew him to Seattle for extensive tests.
Team physician Dr. Mitch Storey said Sunday that Gutierrez’s issues are caused by a slow digestive tract. No virus, no ulcers, nothing of grave concern.
“This is great news,” Storey said. “There’s nothing wrong with him. He’s not sick. This is just a simple thing.”’
Gutierrez is treating the condition with medication and dietary changes.
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“Some of it is food, some of it is how much food he eats at a time,’’ Storey said. “He has to choose food better, quite honestly.
“There’s a lot involved in this to try to allow food to get through his stomach in a timely fashion. In the past, because it was slow, it would back up into his stomach so he could get cramps and not feel good, and that would last for a couple of days.’’
Gutierrez already has made changes and is seeing some improvement.
“He has been battling this for several years, so it’s been a problem for him that just seemed to get worse, last year especially,” Storey said. “There will be some experimentation on his part – he’ll learn the hard way, for sure. But it is something he is going to learn to deal with the rest of his life, I believe.”
Between stomach problems and having to leave camp last week when his father-in-law, Braves minor-league coach Luis Salazar, was seriously injured when struck by a line drive in Florida, Gutierrez has played sparingly, getting 16 at-bats in six spring games.
Sunday was the first official day of minor-league workouts in Peoria.
A group of 103 players from Triple-A Tacoma, Double-A Jackson, Single-A Clinton and Single-A High Desert, along with a few others, gathered on the complex’s main minor-league field.
Director of minor league operations Pedro Grifol handled the introductions, and general manager Jack Zduriencik delivered a few words.
Here’s some highlights from Zduriencik’s speech:
• “I said this last year, and I’m going to say it again – we want to make this the best minor-league system in all of baseball.”
• “You build it with people of character. You build it with people buying in. You build it with talent. You build it with unity.”
• “You are only young once in your life. And you’ll never get a chance to do it again.”
• “A lot of players get to the big leagues on talent, but a lot more players get to the big leagues because of this (pointing to his heart).”
• “We are here for you, so be here for us.”
After Zduriencik spoke, the Mariners handed out championship rings to players from the Tacoma Rainiers and Everett Aqua Sox.
“It’s pretty cool,” pitcher David Pauley said. “It means something to get one of these. It’s a long season and you compete and to win a championship, even if it’s in the minor leagues, is a great accomplishment.”
MARINERS OPTION 2
The Mariners made two more cuts Sunday, optioning right-hander Yoervis Medina to High Desert and right-hander Blake Beavan to minor-league camp.
Both pitchers threw Saturday for the Mariners.
Beavan pitched against the Oakland A’s in Cactus League action and looked solid, allowing one run and three hits in three innings.
“I thought Beavan was really good,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “I thought he threw the ball really well.”
Beavan had a 1-0 record with 6.43 ERA in three spring appearances. He threw 52/3 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
Beavan, who was part of the Cliff Lee trade, figures to start for the Rainiers.
Medina pitched in a simulated game that featured Felix Hernandez. Medina struggled with his command, giving up two runs on three hits in three innings. He walked two batters, hit another and struck out three.
Catcher Miguel Olivo, who is battling a strained groin, said he feels great but isn’t sure when he will begin baseball activities. “The trainer will tell me when I can go,” he said. ... The Mariners will have several pitchers throw in a “B” game today against San Diego. ... Former M’s catcher Dan Wilson was in camp to work with minor leaguers. Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner were scheduled arrive in camp today. No word on when Ken Griffey Jr. might make an appearance
The Mariners will host the Chicago Cubs, with right-hander Doug Fister getting the start. The Cubs will go with right-hander Matt Garza.
Ryan Divish: 253-597-8483 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners