Franklin Gutierrez remains sidelined by the stomach problems that have plagued him since last season and Larry LaRue of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that the center fielder will undergo additional medical tests.
Two weeks ago the Mariners announced that Gutierrez had been diagnosed with a “slow digestive tract” and would be able to manage the issue through diet and medication, with team trainer Mitch Storey calling it “just a simple thing” while adding that “there’s nothing wrong with him … he’s not sick.”
Apparently that has changed, or it was never true in the first place. General manager Jack Zduriencik told LaRue that “it’s bothering him and we’re waiting for more test results … Franklin doesn’t feel strong.”
His status for Opening Day is now in doubt, although figuring out the cause of Gutierrez’s stomach problems is obviously a much bigger concern than his readiness for early April games. Ryan Langerhans and Michael Saunders are the in-house options to replace Gutierrez in center field.
With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.
Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.
The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.
Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.