By C. Trent Rosecrans
Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez will once again miss opening day, and he could miss all of April after the team announced he suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle.
The good news is he isn't expected to need surgery. He will need at least four weeks before he is able to participate in any baseball activities.
"At this point, we don't know," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. "Every body responds to things differently. We do't know wwhat he'll be able to do and at this point, we'll probably just ease him into things gradually."
Last season Gutierrez didn't play until May after being diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome during spring training.
Chone Figgins played center field in Wednesday's intrasquad game. Michael Suanders and Casper Wells, along with Figgins, are candidates to replace Gutierrez while he's gone.
Gutierrez played in just 92 games last season, hitting .224/.261/.273 with one home run.
He left Tuesday's workout with the pectoral injury and had an MRI the same day. He flew back to Seattle on Wednesday to see the team's doctor.
In other injury news from Wednesday:
• Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett was scheduled to return to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to have his right eye examined by team doctors after his bunt attempt hit him in the face.
According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Burnett joked, "Where did the bone go?" after the ball hit him in the face.
Burnett wasn't scheduled to throw on Wednesday.
• Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson threw his first bullpen session since suffering a concussion on Feb. 20. Hanson threw 30-pitches and told rpeorters he felt good.
"I think I threw a little better than I had expected," Hanson said (via MLB.com). "I've had some time to think about some mechanical stuff. I was surprised by how well I threw."
Hanson may throw live batting practice on Friday, but he still has to pass one more part of the concussion impact test.
•The Angels' Kendrys Morales is making progress from his 2010 ankle injury, hitting from both sides of the plate, something he didn't do last spring. He also added S-turns in his running -- another thing he never did last season.
"He's in a different position now because he's had nothing but a progression to the point where you can see that he'll progress to playing games in a couple of weeks," manager Mike Scioscia told reporters, including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.
• Keeping with the theme of Angels displaced by Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo was cleared by doctors on Wednesday to return to the field.
Trumbo, who had a stress fracture in his right foot, is attempting to make the move to third base. [Orange County Register]
• Cubs catcher Geovany Soto will miss the start of the Cactus League with a sore groin, but told reporters it wasn't a big deal.
"It's spring training, and there's no hurry to get out there," Soto told reporters, including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "I want to be there as much as I can, just to play. I've had four months off and you train hard all offseason, so you want to get every game possible to get ready for the season."
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