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Franklin Gutierrez hit .349 in the Venezuelan Winter League

Jan 2, 2013, 8:31 PM EDT

gutierrez getty Getty Images

Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez appeared in only 40 games last season due to head and heel injuries, and he batted just .260/.309/.420 when he wasn’t on the disabled list. But there may be reason for a hint of optimism about what’s ahead in 2013.

Gutierrez is — first and foremost — healthy. He hasn’t experienced any sort of concussion-related symptoms over the past several months and his plantar fasciitis is seemingly under control. Then there’s his promising performance in the Venezuelan Winter League, which recently wrapped up its regular season schedule.

According to beat writer Greg Johns of MLB.com, the 29-year-old hit .349/.411/.523 with three homers, six doubles and 19 RBI in 22 games for Leones del Caracas while playing his usual brand of elite-level outfield defense. He was 8-for-15 in his final three games and finished with a total of 13 runs scored.

If Gutierrez proves to be a reliable regular this year in Seattle, the M’s can shift Michael Saunders to right field. Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay will presumably share left field, with Casper Wells providing overall depth.

  1. dondada10 - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    No way Jason Bay beats Casper Wells out for playing time. He’s the one who should platoon with Ibanez.

  2. humanexcrement - Jan 2, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    for those of us who are baseball fanatics, and just as hungry in the offseason, why don’t they broadcast winter league games on tv? It’s hard to believe Winter league games, with their plethora of major league talent, wouldn’t get high enough ratings to at least warrant a spot on ESPN 2 or VS or somesuch.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 3, 2013 at 7:07 AM

      if espn isn’t covering it there is no money in it……………….
      how about satellite tv…………………

  3. bigleagues - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    And he’ll be hitting .249 in the American Major Leagues . . .

    • caeser12 - Jan 3, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      More like .219, but the Garlic Fries will be good again this year though.

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