Felix moving ahead of Bedard with off day upcoming

Felix Hernandez threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings in Thursday's 1-0 victory over the A's. (Elaine Thompson/AP photo)

If you don’t want to wait too long for Felix Hernandez’s next start — and who does in the wake of Thursday’s 1-0 gem against the A’s? — the Mariners are helping out by moving The King ahead of Erik Bedard in the rotation the next time around.

With an off day Monday, manager Eric Wedge will keep Hernandez on his normal five-day turn by skipping him ahead of Bedard and letting him pitch Tuesday in Detroit in the opening game of the Tigers series.

As happened earlier in the season with Michael Pineda, that pushes Bedard back an extra day to Wednesday — meaning he’ll have a full week since his previous start against the same Tigers squad he lost to last Wednesday. That makes sense on both fronts,  keeping Hernandez in his routine and giving Bedard’s arm extra time as he continues building back up after missing 18 months with shoulder problems.

In other news, it appears first baseman Justin Smoak probably won’t rejoin the team until Tuesday in Detroit at the earliest. The club has made no announcement, but his father’s funeral is Saturday in North Charleston, S.C., and the Mariners have a day game Sunday in Seattle followed by an off day Monday.

So it seems logical to have Smoak take the time with his family and then meet the Mariners in Michigan. His father, Keith, died at the age of 57 this past Tuesday. Here’s a story in the Charleston (S.C.) Courier and Herald about how Justin and his dad got together to play catch one last time in February before Justin headed to Spring Training, with his father in a wheelchair while battling his lung cancer.

Stories like that serve as a great reminder of how important it is to enjoy the time we have with our families. For lots of dads, playing catch with their sons is as good as it gets and I have no doubt Justin and his dad treasured that moment.

Smoak is definitely missed in the Mariners clubhouse, where his quiet, low-key personality have made him a popular teammate. And there’s no question the team misses his bat in the middle of the lineup, even with Adam Kennedy doing a nice job defensively and also popping home runs in the past two games.

Last night’s win was one of those reminders of how there are always great moments even in rough seasons. While Seattle has struggled to a 7-13 start, this year has already produced a couple memorable contests with the seven-run comeback win against Toronto and now the 1-0 classic against the A’s.

Now comes another Michael Pineda start tonight. The 22-year-old was beaming yesterday after getting his first driver’s license in the U.S., passing on his first try. He said he’d never had a car in the Dominican Republic, but plans to get something here soon. He was driving a truck provided by his agent when he passed his test, which he says went with flying colors.

So far, everything has gone well for the big youngster this season and he’ll look to add to that tonight in a matchup against Oakland’s own big kid, 6-foot-6 right-hander Tyson Ross, who turns 24 today and will make his first start of the year in place of the injured Dallas Braden.

4 Comments

Thanks, Greg. I love this very special blog.

Fred, you are very kind. Thanks for the continued readership!

-Greg

I’m dead serious. A reader can’t get this kind of story anywhere else. You are close to the team, and you see and hear a lot. I think a lot of us read this blog but don’t necessarily leave comments. I hope they are reading.

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