Gutierrez's injury-plagued season likely over

Gutierrez's injury-plagued season likely over

Gutierrez's injury-plagued season likely over
SEATTLE -- The saga that has been Franklin Gutierrez's 2012 season will likely come to a close in the most fitting fashion -- with an injury keeping him from taking the field.

The oft-injured center fielder was not in the Mariners lineup for the second straight day on Tuesday since leaving Sunday's game in Oakland with a strained groin.

"Probably not going to see him again," manager Eric Wedge said. "He's still pretty sore. Now we're not day to day, we're just day. So probably not going to see him."

Gutierrez has been unable to stay on the field for an extended period of time this year, playing in just 40 games. He did not make his first appearance until June 14 after tearing a pectoral muscle in Spring Training. After just 13 games, he was hit in the head when a pickoff attempt got past the first baseman in a freak accident.

Since then, he's also had to leave a game after colliding with a wall, as well with the strained groin muscle.

"So many fluke things have happened to him," Wedge said. "It's not a matter of him being negligent with his work or with his routine, so because of that, you still have to believe in the guy. It's been evident that we're a better ballclub when he was in the lineup. That's really all you can say about it.

"He did everything last offseason, so you ask him to go out and do a lot of the same. I think it's about time for the baseball gods to be on his side, so we'll have to count on that."

But even if Gutierrez -- who will play some winter ball during the offseason -- cannot stay healthy, Wedge feels the team still has a pretty good alternative in Michael Saunders.

"One thing, the way Michael Saunders is coming into his own this year, in regard to having a backup plan, you feel a lot better about that this point in time than you did last year at that point in time," Wedge said. "He's proven that he can be a very good center fielder as he continues to get better offensively."