DETROIT — Felix Hernandez declared he would pitch again this season. But it won’t be Wednesday.
The Mariners’ ace threw a lengthy bullpen session before Monday’s game in Detroit. Mariners manager Eric Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis discussed the results with Hernandez and decided to push back his next start until possibly this weekend in Anaheim. Hisashi Iwakuma will start Wednesday, while James Paxton will start Thursday.
The decision has nothing to do with the strained oblique that Hernandez suffered Sept. 2 in Kansas City that has kept out of action since.
“Physically, he felt fine,” Willis said. “If anything, he feels too strong because he hadn’t been on the mound in such a long time.”
“I think because he hadn’t been on the mound in such a long time, he’s just a little erratic,” Wedge said.
Willis likened the progression to spring training.
“He’s just played some catch and it’s kind of an intermittent thing because he’s tried to let this thing feel better, which it is,” Willis said. “But he hadn’t been able to do anything on the mound, coming down the slope as opposed to throwing on flat ground. It’s a little different release point, so it’s about repeating that mechanic again.”
So Hernandez will throw a bullpen session Thursday morning and likely start Saturday or Sunday against the Angels.
“As far as going out and competing, one more bullpen (session) is going to allow him to just tighten things up a little bit,” Willis said.
There is some sentiment that the Mariners should shut down Hernandez for the remainder of this lost season. He has a 12-9 record with a 3.01 ERA in 29 starts and has thrown 194 innings. But he wants to pitch again this season, and Wedge is going to listen to his input.
“There’s a lot of respect you have to give him, wanting to finish off the season,” Wedge said. “It’s a fragile thing, but it’s a mighty thing. It means a great deal to finish what you started. He wants to do it for his club, he wants to do it for the game and he wants to do it for himself. And I appreciate all that. He’s earned that respect.”
Raul Ibañez was selected as the Mariners’ nominee for the 2013 Roberto Clemente Award.
The award is baseball’s highest community service honor and is given to the player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. It is named after the Pittsburgh Pirates’ late Hall of Fame outfielder, who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Ibañez is active in many community programs. He was one of the co-chairs of this year’s annual Mariners Care Cystic Fibrosis Golf Tournament on June 24, which raised $220,000. It was the sixth time he hosted the tournament during his three stints with Seattle.
Ibañez was the Mariners’ nominee and local winner of the Clemente Award each year from 2006-08.
Shortstop Brad Miller, a rookie with the Mariners, was out of the lineup for the second consecutive day, but his strained hamstring is progressing.
He suffered the injury Saturday night while running after a bunt.
“It felt like a big cramp when I was running down to first,” Millar said. “I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to keep playing. It’s still sore obviously, but it’s feeling better each day. So hopefully as soon as I can, I’ll get back out there quick.”
Miller has never had hamstring issues before but he isn’t too concerned.
“It’s just something that got a little tight on me,” he said. “But it’s nothing too crazy. They said the strength is there, so hopefully it was just a big cramp and now it’s just sore.”
The Mariners limited his activities Monday. He played catch and took some swings in the cage but did no on-field work.
The series in Detroit continues with a 4:08 p.m. game Tuesday. Right-hander Brandon Maurer (4-8, 7.18 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Mariners, while the Tigers will go with right-hander Anibal Sanchez (14-7, 2.50).Ryan Divish: 253-597-8483 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @RyanDivish