Franklin Gutierrez is finally making progress.
According to beat writer Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune, the 29-year-old center fielder will head to the Mariners’ spring training complex in Peoria, Arizona early this week to being taking at-bats and playing the field in extended spring training games.
Gutierrez will eventually progress to a minor league rehab assignment, and could join the M’s at some point in mid-June if he’s able to avoid more setbacks.
He’s been on the disabled list since the start of the regular season with a partially torn pectoral muscle and, more recently, plantar fasciitis in his heel. Gutierrez batted .224/.261/.273 in 92 games last season.
The Nationals recalled 19-year-old outfield prospect Juan Soto from Double-A Harrisburg on Sunday, per a team announcement. Soto is poised to become the youngest player in the league once he makes his official debut with the club, and the Nationals’ first teenager to enter the majors since Bryce Harper made his first appearance back in 2012.
Entering the 2018 season, Soto was ranked no. 2 in the Nationals’ system and 15th overall. He’s certainly lived up to the hype during his first two years of pro ball, blazing through Single-A, High-A and Double-A levels in 2018 alone. While he logged just eight games at the Double-A level prior to his promotion to the majors, he proved consistent across all three levels this spring and slashed a cumulative .362/.462/.757 with 14 home runs and a 1.218 OPS in 182 plate appearances.
It’s not entirely clear how soon or in what capacity the Nationals will utilize their youngest player, but Soto’s tear through the minors is sure to pave the road for a few opportunities on the big-league level. He’ll be available off the bench for Sunday’s series finale against the Dodgers.