Franklin Gutierrez, who has spent much of the spring sitting out games while undergoing tests on stomach problems that date back to last season, will begin the year on the disabled list.
Greg Johns of MLB.com reports that Gutierrez “still has received no answers from a battery of medical tests and his return remains uncertain.”
He was initially diagnosed with a “slow digestive tract,” but the Mariners now believe something else is to blame. General manager Jack Zduriencik indicated last week that Gutierrez won’t be cleared to return until the cause is definitively found.
He’ll continue to undergo further testing while Ryan Langerhans and Michael Saunders take the Gold Glove center fielder’s place in the lineup.
Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.
The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.
The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.