Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 4/28/12

The Seattle Mariners got some bad news Friday about center field, specifically center fielder

Franklin Gutierrez.

Not only is the veteran coming back slowly from a right pectoral injury, but he has

developed a case of plantar fasciitis.

On the other side of the coin, Gutierrez's replacement, Michael Saunders, is giving the

club plenty of reasons to breathe easily.

Saunders had his biggest day of the season with two homers Friday in Toronto. He

homered in the ninth with the Mariners down two runs to help force extra innings against

Blue Jays closer Francisco Cordero.

Then in the 10th, he delivered a grand slam off Luis Perez to secure a 9-5 Seattle win,

the fourth in a row for the Mariners.

This is the same Saunders who was given a chance to replace the often-injured Gutierrez

last year but faltered badly.

"Saunders is a completely different hitter this year," manager Eric Wedge said. "To his

credit, he's always been a complete player, but the hitting has been a bit short. This

year, it hasn't been. He is still learning; I'm impressed with the way (he) fought through

his early at-bats. That put him in position to do more later."

The Mariners suffered badly without Gutierrez last season. But with Saunders hitting

.254 with three homers and 11 RBIs, things are looking up this time around.

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