Felix scratched from Wednesday start vs. Astros
Felix Hernandez has been scratched from his scheduled start Wednesday against the Astros as the Mariners ace continues to be hampered by some stiffness in his back.
Hernandez will be replaced by rookie right-hander Brandon Maurer, who started 10 games at the beginning of the season and has been working in a long-relief role recently. Maurer, 23, is 4-7 with a 6.85 ERA.
Hernandez already had his start pushed back from Sunday after being removed from his previous outing on Sept. 2 in Kansas City after 6 2/3 innings after feeling some cramping in his lower back.
After the 26-year-old felt some stiffness again while throwing a flat-ground session on Saturday, the Mariners decided to delay his next start further rather than push it at this point. The issue is not considered serious, but the club is being cautious with Hernandez already having thrown 194 1/3 innings this season in 29 starts.
Hernandez is 12-9 with a 3.01 ERA and 200 strikeouts. He is currently third in the American League in strikeouts and fourth in innings pitched.
The durable right-hander has thrown 200-plus innings each of the past five years and this is his fifth consecutive season with 200 strikeouts.
The Mariners had already decided to go to a six-man rotation over the remaining weeks of the season to reduce the work load on all their pitchers. Rookie Taijuan Walker, who will make his third Major League start in Monday night’s series opener with the Astros, will be shut down after that appearance.
Maurer was already slated to take Walker’s place in the rotation the rest of the way. The club also is going with rookie James Paxton, who made his Major League debut on Saturday, along with Hisashi Iwakuma, Joe Saunders and Erasmo Ramirez.