Franklin Gutierrez hasn’t played since September 4 of last season and hasn’t played well since 2010 due to a series of injuries and health problems, the latest of which are a partially torn pectoral muscle and plantar fasciitis.
He’s finally making some significant progress, with Josh Liebeskind of MLB.com reporting that Gutierrez took live batting practice yesterday and has also been cleared to resume running.
In terms of when the Gold Glove-winning center fielder might actually play again, no one seems to know yet and Gutierrez explained that “the last two years have been really tough for me … imagine two years without being healthy at all.”
Gutierrez’s absence has led to Michael Saunders starting 40 of 45 games in center field for the Mariners, but he’s hitting just .224 with four homers and a .700 OPS and is probably better suited for a corner spot defensively.
Major League Baseball has announced the umpiring crew for the World Series. John Hirschbeck is the crew chief. It’s his fifth World Series assignment, third as a crew chief.
A surprising name on the crew is Joe West. It’ll be his sixth World Series overall, but first since 2012. There had been chatter for several years that Major League Baseball was making a more concerted effort to get its best umpires into the World Series more often while minimizing the appearances of its weakest umpires. Most assumed West’s absence from the Fall Classic in recent years, despite his seniority, was a function of that. Maybe they’re still making merit a priority and maybe West has just improved? I’ll leave that for you to judge.
Anyway, here is the lineup of umps for Game 1. They will rotate after that, of course. If the series goes six games, Cowboy Joe will be calling the balls and strikes:
Home plate: Larry Vanover
1B: Chris Guccione
2B: John Hirschbeck
3B: Marvin Hudson
LF: Tony Randazzo
RF: Joe West
Replay Official for Games 1-2: Sam Holbrook (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)
Replay Official for Games 3-7: Larry Vanover (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)