Felix Hernandez dismissed any concerns Tuesday that a sore groin muscle, which prompted his removal from Monday’s game, will prevent him from making his next scheduled start Saturday at Anaheim.
"Oh, yeah, I’ll go," he sad. "For sure. I’m fine. I’m good. I’m ready to go."
Hernandez came up limping on a play in the fourth inning Monday when he broke late from the mound on a grounder to first base. He completed the inning and worked a one-two-three fifth inning before exiting as a precaution.
Immediately after Monday’s game, Hernandez said he saw no reason to believe he wouldn’t be ready for his next start, but manager Scott Servais, prior to Tuesday’s game, seemed to cast doubt on the King’s availability.
"I’m hoping he can make his next start," Servais said. "We’ll just have to wait and see when he gets out and starts moving around. He does feel it a little bit today. I’m still hopeful that he’ll make his next start, but we’ll have to wait and see."
Any doubts should be removed — or reinforced — for others Wednesday when Hernandez throws in a regular between-starts bullpen workout. For his part, Hernandez is already certain.
"A little tape," he said. "A little wrap. And I’m ready to go."
Left-hander Dillon Overton is expected to rejoin the roster Thursday after taking a three-day paternity leave. His wife, Morgan, gave birth Tuesday to the couple’s first child, a healthy boy.
MLB rules limit paternity leave to a maximum of three days.
The Mariners plan to clear space for Overton by returning right-hander Chase De Jong to his optional assignment to Triple-A Tacoma. De Jong was recalled Monday to replace Overton.
Three things to watch in Wednesday’s pitching matchup between James Paxton and Houston’s Charlie Morton:
***Paxton is 1-2 with a 4.88 ERA in four career starts against the Astros, but that victory came in his final start last season at Minute Maid Park. Morton is in his 10th season and had made 162 appearances, including 161 starts, but the Mariners are one of four teams that he’s never faced. The others are Toronto, Oakland an Pittsburgh.
***Jose Altuve and George Springer are each 3-for-12 in their career against Paxton, but two of Springer’s hits are home runs. Springer has also struck out three times against Paxton.
***Jean Segura is just 3-for-22 in his career against Morton. The only other current Mariner with more than three career plate appearances against Morton in Carlos Ruiz, who is 1-for-4 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch.
Third baseman Kyle Seager played in his 847th game Monday as a Mariner, which moved him past Dave Valle for 10th place on the franchise’s all-time list. Next up for Seager is Jose Lopez at 873 games. The all-time leader is Edgar Martinez at 2,055…Monday’s shutout loss was the fourth in franchise history on opening day. The last one was April 1, 2003 in a 5-0 loss at Oakland. That club went on to win 93 games…former Mariners catcher Steve Clevenger turns 31 on Wednesday.
It was 39 years ago Wednesday — April 5, 1978 — that Hall of Fame outfielder Joe DiMaggio threw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Mariners’ season opener against Minnesota at the Kingdome.
Craig Reynolds’ two-run homer in the second inning helped the Mariners built an early three-run lead before Enrique Romo closed out a 3-2 victory for Glenn Abbott by pitching 2 2/3 scoreless innings.
The Mariners and Astros continue their four-game series at 5:10 p.m. Wednesday at Minute Maid Park. Lefty James Paxton (6-7 with a 3.79 ERA in 2016) will face Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (1-1, 4.15 with Philadelphia).
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN and the Mariners Radio Network, including mariners.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv).
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners