Scratched from his scheduled start today by persistent tightness in his lower back, Felix Hernandez said he knew the Seattle Mariners had only his best interest in mind and appreciated their concern.
"But if it's up to me, I'm pitching tomorrow," Felix said. "I want to be smart, but they pay me to pitch every fifth day."
When will he pitch again?
Donning his Dr. Felix personna, Hernandez laid out his timetable: play catch Wednesday, work out on the off day Thursday and throw a bullpen session at Safeco Field on Friday.
"That would have me ready to start Sunday," the doctor said.
The Mariners are quietly hinting it could be Tuesday, after Monday's scheduled off-day. They point out that Felix - the pitcher, not the doctor - hasn't thrown with any serioiusness since Saturday in Chicago, when he slipped while making a pitch.
"It doesn't hurt unless I lift my leg to throw," Dr. Felix said. "I have to be perfect to feel nothing."
How, he was asked, did he injure himself in the second inning and stay in the game through five innings?
"You know me," Felix said. "I don't want to come out and I hate missing a start. If it was up to me, I'd pitch on my turn to start. But I understand why they're doing what they're doing. They know what they're doing."