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M's Gutierrez has irritable bowel syndrome

At least Franklin Gutierrez now knows what caused all of his stomach problems for nearly a full year.

Now comes seeing if the treatment will finally get Seattle's Gold Glove center fielder back on the field.

"I just need to be healthy now. I need to be here," Gutierrez said on Saturday in the Mariners clubhouse.

Gutierrez visited the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota earlier this week, where he was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome as the cause of his stomach issues that first popped up last summer.

There's no timetable for when Gutierrez might begin playing again. But there's a great deal of relief at finally getting a solid idea of what exactly is going on. For now, Gutierrez will take a pill before each meal in the hopes he finally gets some relief.

"The confirmation, I think, is key for peace of mind, and now it's just about treatment," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "Hopefully daily he can be involved in our pregame routine, and we'll take it from there.

Despite the continuing problems, Seattle was hopeful of Gutierrez being ready to start the season and build off his first Gold Glove won last year.

But he went on the disabled list on March 30 with what the team called "stomach gastritis." He remained in Arizona at extended spring training and played enough that he was sent out on a rehab assignment with Single-A High Desert.

The rehab never started. Gutierrez was scratched on March 17 after his stomach discomfort flared up. He returned to Seattle and was later sent to the Mayo Clinic for more tests.

Gutierrez said the tests at the Mayo Clinic weren't much different from what he previously had.

"I guess there was something specific they were looking for and they found it," he said.

Gutierrez was feeling good enough Saturday to start working out again. Wedge said the plan is for Gutierrez to go on the Mariners' upcoming six-game road trip to Detroit and Boston and work out before games and try to do more baseball activities as the week progresses. He'll then be reassessed and a determination made for any sort of rehab assignment.

"I've been having this a long time and nobody knew what I had," Gutierrez said. "Knowing now this is what I have and it can be treatable makes me feel better mentally and I want to feel better physically, too, to get ready and be here again."