Franklin Gutierrez (pectoral) cleared to begin throwing

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Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez was put on the disabled list before Wednesday’s season-opener in Japan and won’t be in the Seattle starting lineup Friday when the team gets going state-side. But he should be ready to rock by the end of April.

According to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times, Gutierrez was recently cleared to begin throwing and played catch against a wall Friday in Mariners camp.

The 29-year-old has been hitting for more than two weeks without experiencing any lingering pain or discomfort in the area of his once torn pectoral muscle.

Gutierrez batted just .224/.261/.273 last season while fighting oblique and stomach issues, but he’s an elite defender and an important piece of the M’s roster. Michael Saunders will continue to fill in.