What hurts worse than a fastball to the ribs? An A.S. Diagnosis

Living the dream as a future baseball All Star, Franklin Gutiérrez, a.k.a. “Guti” was on top of the world.

In 2000 the Cleveland Indians signed amateur free agent Franklin Gutiérrez, a.k.a. “Guti”, to their roster.  In 2004, he was traded to the LA Dodgers entering the season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 3 prospect.

Image Source: Wikipedia: Franklin Gutiérrez

Back and forth between the minors and the majors, in 2006, Guti became a full-time, major league center fielder and hit his first grand slam in 2008.  Later that year he was traded to the Seattle Mariners where he earned his nickname, “Death to flying things.”

Guti quickly became not only a promising player, but a fan favorite diving for unforgettable catches, being a top baseball Fantasy League pick and receiving the following industry awards between 2008 and 2010:

American League Outfielder Gold Glove Award

Right Fielder Fielding Bible Award

Center Fielder Fielding Bible Award

After an ongoing blitz of what everyone thought were game related injuries and subsequent missed games, Guti found himself on the disabled list. He was bumped down to the minors  and sat out the entire 2014 spring season.

In a Minor League Report by the News Tribune Gutierrez said, “I’m just trying to get back in shape again.” “It’s not easy, obviously, because I’ve been out for a year and I’m trying to come back with my swing and my legs.”

shutterstock_88897528The clincher here though, is that atop of struggling with gastrointestinal issues that had doctors stumped-eventually he was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBF) the aching pains and discomfort Guti had been feeling throughout his lower body wasn’t going to go away. After healing, and more injuries, and tests, Guti was diagnosed with a rare form of arthritis; ankylosing spondylitis (A.S.).

“It was hard,” Guti told the Seattle Times “I didn’t know what was causing pain in my joints and stiffness in my muscles. It’s something I’m going to have my whole life. It has treatment, but there isn’t any cure. It’s something I have to deal with every day.”  Read the full text here.

“Franklin Gutierrez does drills with the outfielders at the Seattle Mariners Spring Training in Peoria, Arizona 2015” Source: (BETTINA HANSEN / The Seattle Times)

Getting back to the swing of things

With his diagnosis, came options. He has been playing baseball all his life, and he may not be the same player he was in his 20’s (now 32) but he has and will always be committed to the game. Yes, his priorities have changed a bit, but Guti has been getting treatment, working with his doctors and family, and is learning how to manage his A.S.

He is working out hard; physically and emotionally, but his love for and commitment to the game compounded with a little bit of stubbornness landed him a minor league contract with the Mariners.

Guti is taking one fast ball at a time.  He is back on the field and learning more about himself and his body each day. The Mariners respect him as a player and the organization wants to see him stay as healthy as possible doing what he loves to do- playing ball. Fans didn’t see Guti on this spring season’s opening day roster, but we sure are cheering for him!

Click here to read PatientWorthy’s 5 Remarkable People Diagnosed with A.S. You Didnt know

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