Franklin Gutierrez finally on track with rehab assignment

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After missing most of spring training and the entire first month of the season with what was recently diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, Franklin Gutierrez finally began a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma last night.

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that Gutierrez was in the lineup as the designated hitter and went 1-for-4 with a triple. He is scheduled to play five innings in center field in tonight’s game.

Gutierrez lost 15 pounds during his recent stomach issues, but Mariners manager Eric Wedge indicated Tuesday that he might not be far away.

“We’ll re-evaluate this weekend, see where’s he’s at,” Wedge said. “We’re taking it day by day right now. We’ll see how it comes together this weekend and go from there. See how much more time, if any, he needs.”

Entering play Tuesday, Mariners’ center fielders — mostly Ryan Langerhans and Michael Saunders — have combined to bat just .206/.310/.351 with three homers and a .660 OPS over 97 at-bats.

Gutierrez batted .245/.303/.363 with 12 homers, 64 RBI and a .666 OPS last season while winning his first Gold Glove award for his outstanding defense in center field.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. named ALCS MVP

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Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series after his club punched its ticket to the World Series on Thursday night against the Astros.

Coincidentally, the Astros’ Game 5 starter Justin Verlander was ALCS MVP last year en route to a championship.

Bradley went 0-for-3 with a walk in Thursday’s Game 5, but he hit a three-run double in Game 2, a grand slam in Game 3, and a go-ahead two-run home run in Game 4. That’s nine RBI and three extra-base hits across five games. He also drew four walks.

Though Bradley had a solid regular season, he was not near the top of the list most people would’ve expected to win ALCS MVP heading into the series. During the season, he hit .234/.314/.403 with 13 home runs, 59 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 17 stolen bases in 535 plate appearances.