Franklin Gutierrez suffered an oblique strain during Sunday’s game and is expected to miss the rest of the year, says the Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker.
Gutierrez ends a disastrous season with a .224/.262/.273 line in 322 at-bats. He missed the first seven weeks with a stomach condition that was eventually diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome. After debuting on May 18, he homered in his sixth game back, but then went the next three-plus months without one. He drove in a total of 19 runs all season.
Regarded by some as the best defensive center fielder in baseball, Gutierrez was an All-Star-caliber performer when he hit .283/.339/.425 with 18 homers and 70 RBI in his first season in Seattle in 2009. However, his OPS has dipped from .764 then to .666 in 2010 and .535 this year. If not for the long-term deal he signed, he’d probably be a candidate to be non-tendered this winter. Instead, he’s guaranteed $5.5 million in 2012 and $7 million in 2013.
An offseason spent working out and regaining strength could make Gutierrez a different player in 2012. The Mariners have no choice but to hope that’s the case. They do have center field alternatives in Casper Wells, Greg Halman and Michael Saunders, but it’s unlikely that any of them will ever be as valuable as Gutierrez was two years ago.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.