Gutierrez exits Sunday with left groin tightness

Gutierrez exits Sunday with left groin tightness

Gutierrez exits Sunday with left groin tightness
OAKLAND -- Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez was removed from Sunday's game against the A's in the bottom of the third inning after feeling tightness in his left groin muscle, after he had already doubled twice and scored a run.

"He felt it on the first double, and again the next time," said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. "We'll just look at him as day to day right now."

The Mariners have just three games remaining. Gutierrez was replaced in left field by Trayvon Robinson, with Michael Saunders moving to center in the 5-2 loss.

Gutierrez, 29, has been plagued by injuries all season, and was playing just his 40th game. He sat out Friday night with a stiff neck after crashing into the wall in Anaheim on Thursday.

But Gutierrez played Saturday and started again Sunday, hitting leadoff doubles in the first and third innings.

Gutierrez missed the first two months of the season with a partially torn pectoral muscle that he injured early in Spring Training, then was sidelined for two more months in midseason after getting a concussion when he was hit in the head by a pickoff throw.

Gutierrez has one year at $7 million remaining on his contract with the Mariners, but Wedge said the 2010 American League Gold Glove winner has to get over his health issues.

"He has to prove that," Wedge said. "He hasn't been able to. It's hard to help the ballclub when you're not on the field. We just have to find a way to get him beyond these little injuries, because we need him on the field."

Gutierrez is batting .260 with four home runs and 17 RBIs in 150 at-bats. He played just 92 games in 2011 as well after missing time with a digestive issue and then a strained oblique muscle.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.