Mariners GM: Franklin Gutierrez must play this weekend to avoid disabled list

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Franklin Gutierrez continues to search for an explanation regarding his year-long stomach problems and Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik indicated that the Gold Glove center fielder is not expected to be ready for Opening Day.

Zduriencik told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that Gutierrez probably “would have to play this weekend” in order to avoid beginning the season on the disabled list, which seems highly unlikely given that he continues to undergo medical tests.

Zduriencik added that “there’s nothing we can do except wait” because Gutierrez won’t be cleared for game action until, according to Baker, “the medical tests … indicate that he has a condition that can be managed.” In other words, until they get to the bottom of the situation he won’t be playing and they’ve already been unsuccessfully trying to solve the problem for months.

Gutierrez, who has so far avoided commenting on his status, will likely be replaced in the lineup by Ryan Langerhans and Michael Saunders.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.