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Franklin Gutierrez making progress, takes 25 swings

Mar 15, 2012, 10:16 PM EDT

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Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez took a significant step forward Thursday in his ongoing recovery from a torn left pectoral muscle, swinging a bat through the air 25 times without discomfort.

This according to 710 ESPN’s Shannon Drayer.

Gutierrez had been limited this week to pool workouts, but he reported feeling strong when he arrived at Mariners camp on Thursday morning and was allowed to progress to dry-land swinging. M’s head trainer Rick Griffin was impressed with the results:

“It went well,” Griffin told Drayer on Thursday night. “You could tell he was a little hesitant at first, he thought he might feel it (pectoral muscle) but about half way through he let go and took a good swing and said it felt great.”

Gutierrez is expected to be ready to make his regular-season debut by the end of April. The 29-year-old batted just .224/.261/.273 in 344 plate appearances last year while fighting oblique and stomach issues.

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