Mariners Insider Blog

Felix ticketed for a Tacoma encore

Felix Hernandez will start again Saturday for Triple-A Tacoma at Cheney Stadium.
Felix Hernandez will start again Saturday for Triple-A Tacoma at Cheney Stadium. AP

Five strong innings Sunday by Felix Hernandez in a rehab start at Triple-A Tacoma wasn’t enough to convince the Mariners to change his recovery timetable. He’ll still make at least one more rehab start.

"He threw the ball much better (Sunday) and got his rhythm going," manager Scott Servais said, "but he’s going to do one more rehab.

"I explained to him that we want to get him up to 80-85 pitches so that when he comes back, we feel good about running him out there to 100."

Plans call for Hernandez to start Saturday for Tacoma in a 7:05 p.m. game against Salt Lake (Angels) at Cheney Stadium. The Mariners opted for Hernandez to get an extra day of rest rather than pitch Friday for the Rainiers in El Paso.

Hernandez was diagnosed with bursitis after leaving an April 25 start at Detroit because of a sore shoulder.

He struggled June 6 in his first rehab start at Tacoma, when he allowed five runs over two innings against to Reno (Diamondbacks), but he rebounded by limiting Las Vegas (Mets) to one run and one hit Sunday in five innings.

A start Saturday at Tacoma would, barring setbacks, position Hernandez to return to active duty June 22 to face the Detroit Tigers at Safeco Field.

***Shortstop Jean Segura tested his recovery from a high right ankle sprain by taking grounders and making throws Monday in an early workout at Target Field. He also took some swings in the batting cage.

"I’m feeling pretty good overall," he said. "I’m feeling good with my swing. I’m feeling good when I throw. It still bothers a little bit to the sides on ground balls. They say that’s normal."

Segura suffered the injury June 1 on a slide at second base against Colorado at Safeco. While Servais, admittedly optimistic, points to Segura returning to duty this weekend at Texas, he said Tuesday looms as a pivotal test.

"We’ll get him out and have him run a little bit," Servais said. "We’ll see where that goes. That kind of determines where the next step is."

Segura ranks second in the American League with a .341 average.

Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners