Franklin Guiterrez injured after running into outfield wall in Mariners' 9-7 loss to Tigers
The sickening sound of Franklin Gutierrez crashing into the outfield wall in the second inning reverberated around Comerica Park. "The guys said they...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Mariners @ Detroit, 4:05 p.m., FSN
DETROIT — The sickening sound of Franklin Gutierrez crashing into the outfield wall in the second inning reverberated around Comerica Park.
"The guys said they could hear it in the dugout," said outfielder Ryan Langerhans.
"I think there's a chain-link wall and something behind it, but it was really loud," added third baseman Jack Hannahan. "It didn't look good."
The Mariners, in fact, feared the worst as Gutierrez lay stunned on the warning track. Manager Don Wakamatsu thought the center fielder might have a broken wrist or a concussion, while trainer Rick Griffin feared a broken collarbone or separated shoulder.
The fact that Gutierrez was not seriously hurt made the Mariners' costly 9-7 loss to the Tigers — one that, combined with the Angels' doubleheader sweep, cost them 1 ½ games in the standings — a little easier to take.
"He's very, very fortunate," Griffin said. "It could have been worse."
As it is, Franklin has a bruised left elbow and left knee, as well as bruised ribs on his left side, and an abrasion on the knee. X-rays of his elbow were negative.
He's listed as day to day, but Wakamatsu raised the possibility that Gutierrez might be able to play in Thursday's series finale. He later acknowledged that was "wishful thinking. You don't know how sore it is. Tomorrow [Wednesday] is going to tell a lot."
Said Gutierrez, who was walking gingerly after the game, "I feel OK. I feel good. I just went to get the ball when I hit the wall, and I hit the ground. That's all I remember."
Starter Garrett Olson had already put the Mariners in a 6-1 hole, and two runners were on base when Ryan Raburn hit the fateful drive to right-center off Chris Jakubauskas.
Gutierrez sprinted after it, and was on the verge of making a miraculous catch. The ball settled in his glove as Gutierrez snared it with a scissors kick. But it squirted loose as Gutierrez had a scary collision with the video scoreboard, appearing to hit his head as well as the left side of his body.
"Guti is such a team guy, he's going to sell out to make the play," Langerhans said. "I kind of saw that the ball went in his glove as he was going up, and then I heard him hit the wall. I turned around and looked back and he was laying there."
Gutierrez said the wall was so hard "it felt like rock."
He knew the collision was inevitable as he went for the ball.
"I knew it. I had to take a chance to get that fly ball," he said. "When you are in the moment, you only think of catching the ball, and that's it."
Gutierrez said he wasn't sure when he'd be able to play again. "I just have to see how I feel when I wake up tomorrow," he said.
The resulting triple by Raburn, meanwhile, brought in two more runs for the Tigers for an 8-1 lead.
On a night in which the teams combined for seven homers — a season-high four by the Mariners — Seattle chipped away throughout the game, but fell short.
They got a pair of solos from Hannahan, a two-run shot by Langerhans, and a solo from Wladimir Balentien, who took Gutierrez's spot in the batting order.
They also got runners to second and third with one out in the ninth against Detroit closer Fernando Rodney but couldn't get them home. The game ended when Langerhans hit a fly ball to the warning track in right.
"I knew I got under it just a hair," he said. "It was one of those that came off the bat, and I was pretty sure it was going to be right about where it was. It didn't keep me from pushing it out in my head when I was rounding first."
Olson likely made his last start for a while. He was charged with seven runs in 1-1/3 innings; over his last two starts, he has pitched a combined four innings and given up 10 hits, six walks and 10 runs (nine earned).
"It's unfortunate," Wakamatsu said. "He's a good kid, and he's worked his tail off. We're hoping to get him back out there at some point."
But Wakamatsu indicated strongly Olson will be coming out of the rotation.
"This start, we were looking for some improvement, and it went the other way," Wakamatsu said. "He's proved to us he's effective out of the bullpen, so we'll look at that and make some adjustments as we go forward."
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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