PEORIA, Ariz. -- Franklin Gutierrez underwent more tests on his ailing stomach Friday as the Mariners attempt to solve the question of what is bothering their Gold Glove center fielder.
Gutierrez sat out his sixth straight day Friday and could be losing any chance of being ready for the opening of the season even if tests come back in a positive fashion. Gutierrez, 28, has played just nine games this spring, hitting .240 in 25 at-bats.
Manager Eric Wedge said the club hoped to know more by Saturday after results of his latest tests get back, but doctors have been trying to figure out why he's been having digestive issues since midway through last season. Gutierrez flew to Seattle for an extensive battery of tests early in Spring Training, with a diagnosis of a slow digestive tract requiring medication and some dietary changes.
But with problems cropping up again, both Gutierrez and the team are trying to get answers. Even if the answers are positive this weekend, Wedge isn't sure whether he'll immediately push Gutierrez back in the lineup in an attempt to get him ready by Opening Day next Friday.
"I've been wrestling with that," Wedge said. "I would say, at best, an outside shot at it. And if we do do that, if we can make that work, we're still going to be limited as we get into the season with the playing time. So if we do go for it, we'll have to be a little creative.
"It's obviously the baseball prep of it, but there's also the physical side of it, too. We've got to take both of those things into consideration."
Michael Saunders started in center field in Friday night's game and went 2-for-3 with a run scored. He's 7-for-13 over his past five games, raising his spring average from .207 to .310. Ryan Langerhans played center in an afternoon split-squad game against the Cubs and went 0-for-3. He's hitting .326.