Franklin Gutierrez hasn’t been back very long, ten games to be exact. It’s too early to deem anything a success, but it isn’t too early to say that Franklin has risen from the ashes red hot… at least to start.
Our expectations for Guti coming into spring training were soaring. Fans were flying high on reports of controlled IBS, and a rebuilt body. Guti was a ghost of his former self last season, when injuries weren’t keeping him off the field, he appearance was frail, skeletal, and unhealthy. IBS was taking its toll on our illustrious center fielder, and it was visibly apparent. So one would expect fans would be eager to see with their own eyes, to take in the rejuvenated body of Gutierrez for themselves. But in the blink of an eye, the new muscle tore and unless you owned a press pass and happened to be in the greater Phoenix area, you were unable to see the transformation for yourself. Even those who happened to be in Peoria throughout the early days of camp, were only able to view the reformed Guti for a short while before a shredded pectoral sidelined him.
Expectations died that day, and they died again when an unexpected case of plantar fasciitis cropped up during his rehab. The injuries were not only worrisome due to concern that the rebuilt muscle would have to once again be rebuilt, but also because Franklin would not have seen any baseball action going all the way into last season.
He has done all he can to put those worries to rest. Steaming into today’s game with a .286/.342/.486 slash line to go with a .200 ISO and a .359 wOBA and already has created half a win. Small sample size beyond a doubt, but I am in no way attempting to prove any sort of sustained success rather to make apparent a fact. There is no way to know where he is going to go from here, for all we know Franklin could go 0-20 from this point on, but it’s hard to ask for a better beginning.
Players returning from injury are not always fully healed. We have seen a very recent case of this with Mike Carp who has once again been placed on the disabled list with shoulder woes. This small burst of production from Guti may not prove his abilities for the season, but it does validate his health. He’s healthy, and reformed. His IBS for all intents and purposes, seems to be under control. We have no idea whether or not we will ever again see the 2009 form of the JJ Putz gem, but we do know that whatever production he provides, good or bad, we cannot pin any of it on IBS.
We can only hope that Gutierrez can continue to provide an offensive injection and perhaps add some stability to an extremely volatile line-up. These numbers, in their limited spectrum, are in way an indication of sustained success. They only indicate health. No matter how hot Guti may be, if he was still stricken with health issues these kinds of numbers would be impossible to produce. Franklin Gutierrez in healthy, and that in itself is plenty of reason for celebration.
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