Franklin Gutierrez close to returning to Mariners

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FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi has the exclusive report …

Gutierrez batted .248 with a .278 on-base percentage in 151 plate appearances this past year with Seattle and has played in just 81 total games since the start of the 2012 campaign, but the Mariners wanted a right-handed-hitting backup outfielder and the price should be cheap. Gutierrez hit .283/.339/.425 with 18 home runs and 70 RBI in 629 plate appearances for the Mariners in 2009 — his first year with the club — but it’s been mostly downhill from there, largely due to injuries. He will serve as depth at all three outfield spots.