Maybe it's time to start wondering about Franklin Gutierrez.
After a fantastic 2009 season -- his first with the Mariners -- Gutierrez slumped in 2010. And 2011 was even worse, as a mysterious ailment cost him much of the season, and he finished with terrible hitting stats. There was some good news, though: Gutierrez's brilliant defense showed up again. And everyone's been hoping the center fielder, now 29, would regain his batting stroke and his durability in 2012.
Well, there's been another detour. Tuesday, Gutierrez suffered an injury while throwing and was immediately pulled from the field. Wednesday, we've got the diagnosis:
Franklin Gutierrez has a partial tear of his pectoral muscle and will be out at least four weeks.— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) March 1, 2012
It's the "at least" that's a little scary. Gutierrez seems unlikely to resume any strenuous baseball activities for at least a month, which means he certainly won't be ready for the Mariners' Opening Day in Japan. Which isn't to say he won't be patrolling center field like Willie Mays by the middle of April. But you can't help wondering ...