Franklin Gutierrez to begin year on disabled list with mystery stomach problems

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Franklin Gutierrez, who has spent much of the spring sitting out games while undergoing tests on stomach problems that date back to last season, will begin the year on the disabled list.

Greg Johns of MLB.com reports that Gutierrez “still has received no answers from a battery of medical tests and his return remains uncertain.”

He was initially diagnosed with a “slow digestive tract,” but the Mariners now believe something else is to blame. General manager Jack Zduriencik indicated last week that Gutierrez won’t be cleared to return until the cause is definitively found.

He’ll continue to undergo further testing while Ryan Langerhans and Michael Saunders take the Gold Glove center fielder’s place in the lineup.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.