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.

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.