Gutierrez still out as Mariners prepare to face Royals

Franklin Gutierrez is not in center field for the fifth straight day today as the Mariners face the Royals in a 1:05 p.m. Cactus League game at Peoria Stadium, a growing issue for the Gold Glove center fielder.

GutierrezFranklinMug.jpgInitial reports this week were that Gutierrez was suffering from back stiffness, but general manager Jack Zduriencik told the News Tribune’s Larry LaRue this morning that stomach problems continue to be an issue.

Gutierrez, hitting .240 in nine games this spring, has had a tough go of things this camp. He initially was flown back to Seattle to have his lingering stomach issue checked by doctors, with the resulting explanation that a slow digestive tract was being dealt with through medication and diet and he should be fine.

Then he flew back to Florida for several days after his father-in-law, Braves minor league coach Luis Salazar, was hit in the face with a wicked line drive.

He started nine games in an 18-day span between March 1-19, but hasn’t played since. What does it mean? Gutierrez was headed to the training room this morning and said he didn’t have time to talk, so we’ll see if we can get more answers soon.

Meanwhile, the A’s announced that young right-hander Trevor Cahill (18-8, 2.97 ERA) will start on Opening Night against Felix Hernandez in Oakland on April 1.

Catcher Miguel Olivo continues his comeback as he’ll get three at-bats as a DH today in a Minor League game against the Rangers in Surprise.

Olivo said he felt good this morning after doing his first catching Wednesday in three innings of an intrasquad Minor League contest, so he’s clearly on track to be ready for the regular season if things continue as expected.

Here’s today’s lineup against the Royals, with only two players (Matt Tuiasosopo and Josh Wilson) playing again after starting Wednesday night against the Rockies.

The Mariners roster still stands at 41 players — including injured pitchers David Aardsma and Shawn Kelley — so lots of moves to come in the remaining six days before a final 25 must be finalized.

Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chone Figgins 3B
Milton Bradley DH
Justin Smoak 1B
Matt Tuiasosopo LF
Luis Rodriguez 2B
Michael Saunders CF
Josh Wilson SS
Adam Moore C
Doug Fister P

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