SEATTLE – Felix Hernandez will not start Wednesday against the Houston Astros.
The Seattle Mariners decided to push Hernandez’s start back to next week after he felt stiffness in his side and lower back the day after a throwing session on flat ground Saturday.
“I guess you’d call it maybe a minor oblique strain on the left side, if you had to put a label on it,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “But it was more just stiffness, it just felt stiff after throwing.”
Hernandez didn’t seem too concerned.
“I felt a little tight after my (session), but it’s nothing serious. I’m just trying to be careful,” he said. “I will pitch. I’m fine.”
Hernandez will play catch Tuesday and then throw a flat ground session in St. Louis before any decision about his next start is made.
“I think we’ll just have to really look closely at how he feels after he throws later in the week,” Wedge said. “I think that’ll be a good indicator for us of where we’re at. He’s been honest with us, which is huge. And he always has been, at least in my time here. We’ll just see how he feels and go from there. We’re not going to take any chances.”
While some fans think Hernandez should be shut down for the season, the pitcher said such talk is odd.
“Why would they shut me down?” he said. “I’ve got to go out there and do my best. That’s what I’m trying to do. We’re trying to finish strong. We’re trying to win as many games as we can.”
MAURER STEPS UP
Brandon Maurer will make the start in Hernandez’s place.
“I’m excited,” Maurer said. “I’m ready to give it another go. I just didn’t know when. ”
Maurer made the starting rotation out of spring training. He made 10 starts, going 2-7 with a 6.93 ERA before being sent to Triple-A Tacoma. He was recalled in late July and has pitched out of the bullpen.
He has made eight appearances as a long reliever, pitching 20 innings with a 6.64 ERA, with two more wins.
What will be different this time as a starter?
“I think I will be more comfortable right out of the gate,” Maurer said. “It’s just getting a feel for what pitches to throw in what counts. I’ve kind learned a bit about myself that way, especially with the curveball and the slider and how to use them differently.”
Maurer has learned more than a bit about the game.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned is don’t change anything you’ve done from Day One,” he said. “I think I tried make myself a better pitcher coming up here … You’ve gotta stick with the same stuff. It should play.”
Wedge said Maurer wasn’t the first player to be guilty of changing upon promotion.
“One thing you talk to these guys about is that there’s a reason you got here, so go out and do that,” Wedge said.
Wedge said he has a few things to tell Maurer before Wednesday.
“I want him to be aggressive,” Wedge said. “Every pitch means something and if things do get a little thick, that’s when he’s got to slow it down and still be the same guy he is when things are rolling.”
Left-hander Joe Saunders (11-13, 4.95 ERA) is scheduled to start for Seattle at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday. Houston is likely to go with right-hander Jordan Lyles (6-7, 5.08 ERA). The game will be broadcast on Root Sports and 710-AM and 1030-AM.email@example.com 253-597-8483 blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @RyanDivish