From beat reporter Shannon Drayer of Seattle’s ESPN 710 AM comes word that Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez has been diagnosed with a partial tear of his right pectoral muscle.
Gutierrez suffered the injury Tuesday while making a throw during a drill and flew to Seattle on Wednesday to get a full examination from team doctors.
Gutierrez will be in a sling for the next 5-7 days and won’t be allowed to perform baseball activities for the next four weeks. He’s certain to miss the start of the season, and could be out until mid- or late-May depending on how quickly he can get back up to speed.
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that Michael Saunders, Casper Wells and Chone Figgins are being considered as temporary replacements for the 29-year-old center fielder. The organization plans to address the absence internally.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.