Franklin Gutierrez on verge of return from stomach problems

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Franklin Gutierrez has yet to play this season due to ongoing stomach problems that date back to last year, but Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that the Gold Glove center fielder “will rejoin the team as early as Wednesday” barring a setback.

Gutierrez has been playing at Triple-A and Eric Wedge told Baker that “he’s feeling good.” However, the manager also cautioned: “I don’t want to get ahead of myself. We’ve been there before.”

His replacements have been terrible, as Mariners center fielders have combined to hit just .169 with a .554 OPS that ranks dead last in the league. Michael Saunders has been the primary fill in after initially splitting time there with Ryan Langerhans.

Mike Trout has yet to strike out this spring

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Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.

But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.

To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).

According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.