Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez can’t seem to catch a break. He has appeared in only 13 major-league games this year because of heel and head injuries, and it’s suddenly looking like he won’t make it back from his most recent disabled list stint before the conclusion of the 2012 regular season.
According to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, Gutierrez “had further headache flareups” Saturday and has been scratched from a rehab assignment that was scheduled to get underway this afternoon.
The 29-year-old Venezuelan suffered a concussion over six weeks ago when he was hit in the head by a pickoff throw at first base. He was cleared to resume baseball activities in late July but is now experiencing another wave of post-concussion symptoms.
Gutierrez, a defensive whiz, is a .256/.308/.383 career hitter in the big leagues. Seattle manager Eric Wedge suggested to reporters on Sunday that Guti could play winter ball to make up for his lost 2012.
The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.
Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.
Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.
Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.