File this one away under “reason to worry”. Franklin Gutierrez has an issue with the plantar fascia in his heel. That’s the thick tissue you have lining the heel bone and when it becomes inflamed, they call it “plantar fasciitis” and players and coaches all go “Oh, #$@!!$!”
That’s because this is one of those lingering problems you don’t want cropping up in an athlete whose biggest assets happen to involve the legs. If you’ve ever seen Gutierrez run after balls, you know what I’m talking about.
The thing is, plantar fasciitis doesn’t even have to be crippling. It can just be a dull, nagging pain. But it sometimes takes years to go away. It helped end the career of outfielder Shannon Stewart, a guy I used to cover right here in Toronto.
Rays infielder Reid Brignac is currently dealing with it and getting advice on it from Carlos Pena, whose own career suffered immensely in 2010 from the inury.
Now, this doesn’t have to be a problem that lasts months or even years. But again, a lot of it is touch-and-go. And given everything else Gutierrez has gone through, it’s probably the last thing he needed.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said Gutierrez has tried orthotic supports and other things as he maintains his workouts in Arizona. He’s seeing a variety of trainers and specialists as they try to figure out the best course of action. From the way Wedge made it sound, Gutierrez is still working out at baseball and has most things up-to-speed. But now, it’s the speed the team has to worry about. If he can’t chase down balls at full-throttle, he’s going to be pretty useless as a centerfielder.
In news involving the players actually here, Chone Figgins won’t be starting tonight despite the three hits yesterday. Mariners manager Eric Wedge did not like the career numbers Fggins has against Ricky Romero.
Figgins is 0-for-8 with four strikeouts versus the Toronto pitcher.
Instead, Dustin Ackley is back in there at leadoff. Alex Liddi also earned another day at third base — this one at the expense of Kyle Seager once again. Wedge said Seager understands what is being done and that he will be in there tomorrow.