BY John Hickey 06:23PM 04/23/2011

Gutierrez gets some clarity on stomach problem

Mayo Clinic diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome gives hope that he’ll get better and be back in lineup in May.

Franklin Gutierrez is feeling better about a possible return to the Mariners in the near future. / Getty Images

Once again, the Mariners believe they have Franklin Gutierrez’s stomach issues under control.

They can only hope this time they are right. Finally.

A trip to the Mayo Clinic this week brought back the diagnosis that Gutierrez’s problems are a form of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Gutierrez, who was back in the Seattle clubhouse before Saturday’s game, said he’s already started on the recommended medication.

The trouble is that Gutierrez, who began having stomach trouble last year, thought he’d gotten the problem licked with diet and medication during the winter, and again in spring training. Neither was successful.

Anyone for the third-time’s-the-charm when it comes to matters of the innards?

“They found something that was very common, IBS,’’ Gutierrez told the Seattle media midafternoon. “So I need to take some medication and see if it works. At least I know something and it is treatable. It is not something that is going to go right away, it is going to take time.’’

Gutierrez and manager Eric Wedge both said they’d been told by the medical people that it will take a week, maybe two, before they know if the new course of medication is going to work. Not every patient responds the same way to the medications, so there are backup plans.

At the very least, it’s going to be some time in May before the Gold Glove winning center fielder will be in a Seattle uniform.

“Let’s hope this initial treatment does work,’’ Wedge said. “If we are a go with this first round of treatment, then it is about his energy level and baseball activity. We have got to get him to the point here where he is far enough along that we can send him out and play.

“When we get him out there and he starts to play, then we have to get him far enough along that we feel comfortable bringing him back.’’

The plans are for Gutierrez to travel with the team to Detroit and Boston on a road trip that starts with a game in Motown Tuesday.

Gutierrez, who has looked increasingly gaunt in recent weeks, said he’s been able to eat with more regularity lately and that he’s put on a few pounds. But he’s going to need to put on much more to get up to his playing weight of 190 pounds.

“I’ve been having this a long time and nobody knew what I had,’’ Gutierrez said, “so knowing now this is what I have (and) can be treated makes me feel better mentally. Now I want to feel better physically, too, to get ready and be here again. It’s going to take time for the medicine to work. Let’s see how it goes.’’

Defensively and offensively, the Mariners have missed Gutierrez, with both Ryan Langerhans and Michael Saunders having had ups and downs filling in for Gutierrez. It was Saunders’ turn Saturday, and his inability to make a tough diving catch cost starting pitcher Jason Vargas three runs in the fourth inning.

NOTES: The three-hit game for Ichiro Suzuki was the 700th career multiple-hit game for the right fielder, his ninth this year. It was the 215th time Ichiro has had three or more hits. That’s the most in the big leagues since Ichiro arrived in 2001 and the 27th most in baseball history. … Vargas took a line drive off the back of his left heel in the first inning, but he said the heel, although sore immediately after being hit, didn’t bother him after play resumed. … Now that closer David Aardsma has gotten a couple of injury rehabilitation appearances under his belt, the Mariners would like to see him get a couple more before he’s back with the team. But in a major change of course, Wedge now says he’d like to keep Brandon League as the closer in the first few games after Aardsma’s return. Earlier in the month Wedge said Aardsma would return as the closer. “I’d like to give David one or two chances in non-save situations first,’’ Wedge said. “And when he’s ready to go, he’ll go back as our closer.” … Milton Bradley wasn’t in the lineup again Saturday. He missed Thursday’s game with stomach troubles, then started Friday but came out of the game with back spasms before the third inning. “Milton is better,’’ Wedge said. “I’d like to see if he will be available at the end of tonight’s game, but not if it gets in the way of his starting (Sunday).’’ … Coming into Saturday, Seattle starters have received 42 runs worth of support while they’re in the game, a run-support average of 2.99, the worst in the Major Leagues. … The Mariners have eight wins this year, and eight different players have one game-winning RBI each.

Twitter: @JHickey3


YourThoughts

  • Michael Kaiser

    That is so weird; I also get irritated bowels starting around the beginning of almost every Mariner season.

  • Alden

    Of the Top 10 picks in the 2009 Draft, only Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez and BJ Raji are football players.
    The rest are mediocre, at best.

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