Franklin Gutierrez finally on track with rehab assignment

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After missing most of spring training and the entire first month of the season with what was recently diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, Franklin Gutierrez finally began a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma last night.

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that Gutierrez was in the lineup as the designated hitter and went 1-for-4 with a triple. He is scheduled to play five innings in center field in tonight’s game.

Gutierrez lost 15 pounds during his recent stomach issues, but Mariners manager Eric Wedge indicated Tuesday that he might not be far away.

“We’ll re-evaluate this weekend, see where’s he’s at,” Wedge said. “We’re taking it day by day right now. We’ll see how it comes together this weekend and go from there. See how much more time, if any, he needs.”

Entering play Tuesday, Mariners’ center fielders — mostly Ryan Langerhans and Michael Saunders — have combined to bat just .206/.310/.351 with three homers and a .660 OPS over 97 at-bats.

Gutierrez batted .245/.303/.363 with 12 homers, 64 RBI and a .666 OPS last season while winning his first Gold Glove award for his outstanding defense in center field.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.