Franklin Gutierrez makes season debut for Mariners

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Franklin Gutierrez hadn’t played since September of last season because of multiple health problems, the latest of which were a torn pectoral muscle and heel injury, but the former Gold Glove center fielder was finally back in the Mariners’ lineup last night.

At this point it’s impossible to say what to expect from Gutierrez, as he hasn’t been healthy and effective since 2009, but last night he went 1-for-2 with a walk and his first RBI since way back on September 2.

Before all the injuries Gutierrez was a good-hitting, catch-everything center fielder who ranked as one of the most underrated all-around players in the league. If he can get back to anywhere close to that level it would be a huge boost to the Mariners offensively and defensively while also allowing them to shift the hot-hitting Michael Saunders to left field, creating a great defensive trio of Saunders, Gutierrez, and Ichiro Suzuki.