Gutierrez optimistic despite latest setback

Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez was back at camp on Saturday for the first time since suffering a partial tear in his pectoral muscle and sounded optimistic about a relatively quick return once he’s allowed to resume baseball activities.

Gutierrez won’t be allowed to swing a bat or throw for at least a month, but says he’ll continue running and working in the gym to maintain strength and is just glad he didn’t need surgery. He’ll likely need at least six weeks or so to be back in baseball shape, which would mean missing at least the first few weeks of hte regular season.

“It’s not easy, man,” he said. “Obviously you don’t want to get injured, but that’s something you cannot control. You try to do your best out there and it’s just one of those things that happen. I have to move forward and try to get better and be ready to help my team out at any point.

“I’m not frustrated right now. I’m trying to keep my mind positive and that can happen to anybody. I’m just focused on getting better.”

Gutierrez said he felt a sharp pain, like a pulled muscle, while throwing the ball into the infield at the start of Tuesday’s workout.

“My first throw I felt something pop or strain,” he said. “It was a weird feeling I’d never felt before. I tried doing a second throw, but I couldn’t do it. So I just stopped.”

When he was flying back to Seattle to have tests on the injury, he expected to learn he’d need surgery and possibly miss most of the season. So it was a relief to learn the tendon wasn’t fully detached and would be allowed to heal on its own.

He’ll keep his right arm in a sling until Tuesday or Wednesday and then begin doing rehab exercises. After coming to camp in excellent shape following a difficult year and a half when he was dealing with digestive issues, Gutierrez said he’s not going to let this setback get him down.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “When I got here I was very excited and I still have the same approach in my mind. I’m not going to let this thing hold me back. Obviously it’ll hold me back for a couple weeks. But mentally I feel great. I know I’m going to get better.”

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