Seattle Mariners

Mariners push Hernandez’s next start back one day as precaution

A stiff elbow forced an early exit for the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez against Texas on Sunday, which is one reason the Seattle ace is being given an extra day of rest.
A stiff elbow forced an early exit for the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez against Texas on Sunday, which is one reason the Seattle ace is being given an extra day of rest. Associated Press

Seattle Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez will get an extra day of rest prior to his next start as a precaution after exiting Sunday’s game at Texas because of a stiff elbow.

Hernandez is now slotted to pitch Saturday against the Angels in Anaheim, California. He has repeatedly said he considers the ailment to be minor and dismissed any suggestion he might not make his final two projected starts.

“It ain’t happening,” he said. “I’m fine.”

Even so, manager Lloyd McClendon opted for extra caution in pushing his ace back from Friday to Saturday. Doing so still permits Hernandez to get two more starts and a chance to achieve several personal milestones.

The move also leaves the Mariners without an announced starter for Friday’s series opener against the Angels, although McClendon is expected to choose between Taijuan Walker and Vidal Nuno.

It could also affect the postseason race.

Shifting Hernandez to Saturday means he won’t start, as previously scheduled, on Sept. 30 against Houston, which leads the chase for the final American League wild card berth.

Instead, Hernandez’s final start now projects as Oct. 2 against Oakland in the season-ending series at Safeco Field.

About those milestones: Hernandez (18-9) needs one more victory to match his career high, set in 2009, and two to become the Mariners’ first 20-game winner since Jaime Moyer won 21 in 2003.

Hernandez also needs 4 1/3 more innings for an eighth consecutive 200-inning season and 15 more strikeouts to reach 200 for the seventh season in a row.

CHASING 2,000

Robinson Cano entered Wednesday’s game just one hit shy of reaching 2,000 in his career. He also acknowledges an appreciation for its significance.

“Everything is a big number for me,” he said. “It means a lot. Not only for me, but for anyone, to get 2,000 hits. For me, it’s very special and would mean a lot to me.”

Assuming Cano gets one more hit over the Mariners’ final 11 games, he will become the 14th player in major league history to reach 2,000 prior to the end of his 11th season.

The last player to achieve that milestone was Angels first baseman Albert Pujols, then with the Cardinals, in 2011 with 2,073 hits through his first 11 seasons.

Former Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is the all-time leader in hits through a player’s first 11 seasons with 2,428 from 2001-11. He crossed the 2,000-hit threshold in his ninth season.

MORRISON RETURNS

New papa Logan Morrison rejoined the club prior to Wednesday’s game and explained the name given to his new daughter: Ily Jessica Morrison.

Ily is an acronym for I Love You.

“It’s a pretty crazy feeling to hold your daughter for the first time,” Morrison said. “Everybody was telling me, ‘You are going to be over the moon’ or, ‘I can’t even tell you what the feeling you are going to get.’

“They were right. It was pretty cool. I thought hitting homers was the coolest thing, but that was a little cooler.”

Morrison said he got a quick lesson in diapering.

“I’m sure I will forget by the time I get home,” he said. “But I will have plenty of time to practice. The whole wrapping them up is crazy. How the nurses do it, it’s like tighter than a Chipotle burrito.

“When (I) try to do this, it’s like, ‘This isn’t working.’ ”

MULTIPLE 25’s

Kyle Seager didn’t just match a personal best when he hit his 25th homer in Tuesday’s 11-2 romp over the Royals. He also provided the Mariners with multiple players with 25 homers or more for the first time in six years.

Nelson Cruz has 42 homers.

The last pair to do it was Russell Branyan (31 homers) and Jose Lopez (25) in 2009. It has happened 15 times in club history.

EXTRA, EXTRA

The Mariners had seven extra-base hits in Tuesday’s 11-2 romp over the Royals after getting seven extra-base hits in Sunday’s 9-2 victory at Texas.

That marked the first time in nearly 14 years that the Mariners had seven or more extra-base hits in successive games: Sept. 24-25, 2001, when they had seven in 9-3 and 13-2 victories at Texas.

It was the ninth such occasion in franchise history.

The last team to get seven or more extra-base hits in three consecutive games was Oakland from Aug. 29-31, 2012 in two victories at Cleveland and one vs. Boston.

LOOKING BACK

It was seven years ago — Sept. 24, 2008 — that instant replay was used to determine a home run call for the first time in a game involving the Mariners.

It didn’t go well for the Mariners.

The review confirmed a drive to right by the Angels’ Mark Teixeira stayed fair for a tie-breaking homer against Mark Lowe in the eighth inning at Safeco Field. That proved to be the winning run in the Angels’ 6-5 victory.

SHORT HOPS

The Mariners entered Wednesday with a 13-6 record in September, which was the best among American League clubs. They also needed just one victory in their final eight September games to achieve their first winning month of the season. … Jesus Montero, prior to Wednesday, was 13 for 25 over six career games at Kauffman Stadium. … Ketel Marte entered Wednesday with a 10-game hitting streak. He was batting .385 (15 for 39) in that span.

ON TAP

The Mariners and Royals complete their three-game series at 5:10 p.m. (PDT). Left-hander James Paxton (3-4, 3.70 ERA) will face Kansas City right-hander Johnny Cueto (2-6, 5.12).

The Mariners then conclude their final trip with three weekend games against the Angels in Anaheim.

MOST HITS THROUGH FIRST 11 SEASONS

Ichiro Suzuki (2001-11) 2,428

Paul Waner (1926-36) 2,254

Al Simmons (1924-34) 2,188

Pete Rose (1963-73) 2,152

Kirby Puckett (1984-94) 2,135

Wade Boggs (1982-92) 2,098

George Sisler (1915-26) 2,094

Hank Aaron (1954-64) 2,085

Albert Pujols (2001-11) 2,073

Richie Ashburn (1948-58) 2,067

Stan Musial (1941-52) 2,023

Joe Medwick (1932-42) 2,004

Jesse Burkett (1880-90) 2,001

Robinson Cano (2005-15) 1,999*

* — through Tuesday.

MULTIPLE MARINERS WITH 25 OR MORE HOMERS

2015: Nelson Cruz (42) and Kyle Seager (25)*

2009: Russell Branyan (31) and Jose Lopez (25)

2006: Richie Sexson (34), Raul Ibanez (33) and Adrian Beltre (25)

2001: Bret Boone (37) and Mike Cameron (25)

2000: Alex Rodriguez (41), Edgar Martinez (37), Jay Buhner (26)

1999: Ken Griffey Jr. (48) and Alex Rodriguez (42)

1998: Ken Griffey Jr. (56), Alex Rodriguez (42) and Edgar Martinez (29)

1997: Ken Griffey Jr. (56), Jay Buhner (40), Paul Sorrento (41) and Edgar Martinez (28)

1996: Ken Griffey Jr. (49), Jay Buhner (44), Alex Rodriguez (36) and Edgar Martinez (26)

1995: Jay Buhner (40), Tino Martinez (31) and Edgar Martinez (29)

1993: Ken Griffey Jr. (45) and Jay Buhner (27)

1992: Ken Griffey Jr. (27) and Jay Buhner (25)

1987: Alvin Davis (29) and Ken Phelps (27)

1986: Jim Presley (27) and Danny Tartabull (25)

1985: Gorman Thomas (32), Jim Presley (28) and Phil Bradley (26)

* — totals through Tuesday.

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