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Franklin Gutierrez Is Almost Back, Still Not Normal

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Monday brings good news and bad news all wrapped up together in the same little package, not unlike a cream-filled doughnut. The good news? Franklin Gutierrez is in Seattle and took batting practice just a few minutes ago. The bad news? He recently lost 15 pounds, and still doesn't have any answers as to what's going on with his body.

Guti's hoping that he can be sent on a minor league rehab assignment this week, which would put him in position to return to the Mariners in the not-so-distant future. He wouldn't jump right back in and play every day from the get-go, but it's encouraging to hear that he's been feeling a little better on whatever medication he's been taking, and it would provide a psychological boost to see his name in the lineup.

But the more important matter is that there's still no diagnosis. You'll recall that Guti was feeling pretty good in the spring right up until he wasn't, when he had a recurrence that landed him on the DL. He's on medication that seems to be helping now, but he was on medication that seemed to be helping then, too, and he still wound up having problems. Obviously I will defer to the medical professionals who've actually been working Guti's case, but I find it hard to have much confidence in a treatment plan when the doctors can't pinpoint what's actually wrong.

Without knowing what's wrong, one wonders if we'll ever see Guti at 100% on a consistent basis. That's bad for the player, and that's bad for the person. We can all cross our fingers, but mysterious chronic illnesses are a difficult and troublesome foe. Here's hoping for an answer.