The Seattle Mariners are hopeful Felix Hernandez will miss only one spring training start because of a bruised right forearm sustained when hit by a line drive.
Seattle manager Scott Servais said Thursday that Hernandez still has some swelling in his arm and the team hopes the injury is just a minor setback.
“He’s anxious, but you do have to let it run its course a little bit,” Servais said.
Hernandez was hit by a liner off the bat of the Chicago Cubs’ Victor Caratini on Monday. The injury occurred in Hernandez’s first spring training start. Hernandez was very sore a day after being hit and had swelling in the area around his forearm and elbow.
Servais said the initial plan was for Hernandez to throw around 25 innings this spring training but that number is expected to be lower. He threw 1 1/3 innings against the Cubs before being taken out of the game.
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said Wednesday that Hernandez was lucky to escape serious injury.
“It was one of those moments that stops your heart a little bit,” Dipoto said on the Wheelhouse Podcast. “But once we got some feedback from the training staff and doctors and ultimately took three sets of images to make sure he’s in a good place, I was very encouraged when he walked in yesterday with minimal swelling, the pain was down, and there were no obvious signs of a fracture or break.”
Hernandez made 16 starts last season, pitching only 86⅔ innings, his fewest since his rookie season in 2005. He had two stints on the disabled list, with right shoulder inflammation and right shoulder bursitis.
“Felix is critically important to us,” Dipoto continued. “I think he looks great. His breaking balls, the spin particularly with his curveball, has been in midseason form since his second bullpen. I’m very encouraged by the way he’s commanding his pitches. Frankly, I thought the first inning he threw in Mesa, if Felix Hernandez shows up and does that, we’re going to be very happy with the outcome.”
Royals 4, Mariners 3: Jorge Soler swatted his third home run of the spring as Kansas City rallied in Peoria, Arizona, and improved to 5-0, the only unbeaten team in the majors this spring.
Seattle starter Mike Leake struck out four innings in three scoreless innings. In his second start of the spring, Leake scattered three hits and did not walk anyone. He has now thrown five scoreless innings in Cactus League action this season.
Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager each had two hits for the Mariners. Seager is now batting .636 (7-for-11) in four spring games.
On Friday, the Mariners (2-5-1) play the Milwaukee Brewers at 12:05 p.m. PT at Maryvale Baseball Park. The game will be broadcast (delayed) in the Seattle area on 710 ESPN Seattle and the Mariners Radio Network. The broadcast can be streamed live on Mariners.com.
Left-hander Marco Gonzales is scheduled to start for the Mariners.