A troublesome right-calf injury knocked designated hitter Nelson Cruz out of the Mariners’ lineup Wednesday against Minnesota and could keep him on the bench for a few days.
Cruz exited Tuesday’s 12-3 victory over the Twins after tightness in his calf returned while running the bases. He underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam on Wednesday.
"He pulled himself out of that (May 30) game in Colorado," manager Scott Servais said. "He tried to play through it, but (Tuesday) night it was barking a little bit. I don’t know how long he’s going to be out. Maybe a day or two."
Cruz is batting .299, leads the Mariners with 14 home runs and leads the American League with 46 RBIs. He is also leads the balloting to determine the AL’s starting DH in the All-Star Game on July 11 in Miami.
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***Right-hander Felix Hernandez will throw a between-starts bullpen workout this week at Safeco Field after getting roughed up Tuesday in a rehab start for Triple-A Tacoma in a 12-9 loss to Reno (Diamondbacks).
Hernandez gave up five runs in two innings while throwing 28 of 50 pitches for strikes. It was his first game action since being diagnosed with bursitis in his shoulder after an April 25 start at Detroit.
"His arm wasn't bothering him," Servais said. "He was throwing all of his pitches. He wasn’t holding back there at all. But the timing of his delivery…you have to be able to execute pitches.
"It’s hard when you haven’t done it for a while to just run out there."
Hernandez is tentatively slotted to make another rehab start Sunday and stretch out to 80 pitches for Tacoma against Las Vegas at Cheney Stadium.
"I think it’s important," Servais said, "when Felix does go back active for us, we feel good that he can give you six or seven innings."
***Plans call for right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma to test his recovery from a sore shoulder Thursday by throwing another simulated game prior to batting practice at Safeco Field.
The Mariners put Iwakuma on the disabled list after he was diagnosed with inflammation in his shoulder following a May 3 start against the Los Angeles Angels.
If all goes well Thursday, Iwakuma could be ready to begin a rehab assignment next week in the minors.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners