From beat reporter Shannon Drayer of Seattle’s ESPN 710 AM comes word that Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez has been diagnosed with a partial tear of his right pectoral muscle.
Gutierrez suffered the injury Tuesday while making a throw during a drill and flew to Seattle on Wednesday to get a full examination from team doctors.
Gutierrez will be in a sling for the next 5-7 days and won’t be allowed to perform baseball activities for the next four weeks. He’s certain to miss the start of the season, and could be out until mid- or late-May depending on how quickly he can get back up to speed.
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that Michael Saunders, Casper Wells and Chone Figgins are being considered as temporary replacements for the 29-year-old center fielder. The organization plans to address the absence internally.
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.