The Seattle Mariners ace threw a lengthy bullpen session before Monday's game in Detroit. After the session, Mariners manager Eric Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis discussed the results with Hernandez and decided to push back his next start until possibly this weekend in Anaheim. Hisashi Iwakuma will make the start on Wednesday instead while James Paxton will start Thursday.
The decision has nothing to do with the strained oblique that Hernandez suffered on Sept. 2 in Kansas City and has kept him out of action since.
"Physically, he felt fine," Willis said. "If anything, he feels too strong because he hadn't been on the mound in such a long time."
"I think because he hadn't been on the mound in such a long he's just a little erratic," Wedge said.
Willis likened the progression to spring training.
"He's just played some catch and it's kind of an intermittent thing because he's tried to let this thing feel better, which it is," Willis said. "But he hadn't been able to do anything on the mound, coming down the slope as opposed to throwing on flat ground. It's a little different release point, so it's about repeating that mechanic again."
So Hernandez will throw a bullpen on Thursday morning and likely start Saturday or Sunday against the Angels.
"As far as going out and competing, one more bullpen is going to allow him to just tighten things up a little bit," Willis said.
There is some debate that the Mariners should just don't shut Hernandez down for the remainder of this lost season. He's posted a 12-9 record with a 3.01 earned-run average in 29 starts and thrown 1941/3 innings, but he wants to pitch again this season and Wedge is going to listen to his input.
"There's a lot of respect you have to give him, wanting to finish off the season," Wedge said. "It's a fragile thing, but it's a mighty thing. It means a great deal to finish what you started. He wants to do it for his club, he wants to do it for the game and he wants to do it for himself. And I appreciate all that. He's earned that respect."
Ibanez nominated for Clemente Award
Raul Ibanez was selected as the Mariners' nominee for the 2013 Robert Clemente Award on Monday. The award is baseball's highest community service honor and is given to the player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. It is named after the Pirates' Hall-of-Fame outfielder, who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Ibanez is active in many community programs. He was one of the co-chairs of this year's annual Mariners Care Cystic Fibrosis Golf Tournament on June 24, which raised $220,000. It was the sixth time he hosted the tournament during his three separate stints with Seattle.
Along with his wife, Tery, Ibanez has worked with Page Ahead Children's Literacy program, which makes books available to at-risk children throughout the state of Washington. He's also been active with the Mariners' Refuse to Abuse partnership with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and is an active participant in Make-A-Wish. He has supported a number of local charities and non-profits including Boys & Girls Clubs, Seattle Children's Hospital, Esperanza, Volunteers of America, Teammates For Kids Foundation, Olive Crest, Treehouse, Canine Companions For Independence, Covenant House Pennsylvania, and Project H.O.M.E.
Ibanez was the Mariners nominee and local winner for the Roberto Clemente Award from 2006-2008.
Miller's hamstring improving
Brad Miller was out of the lineup for the second straight day, but his strained hamstring is progressing. He suffered the injury on Saturday night while running to first after a bunt.
"It felt like a big cramp when I was running down to first," he said. "Obviously, I felt it pretty good. I knew I probably wouldn't be able to keep playing. It's still sore obviously, but it's feeling better each day. So hopefully as soon as I can, I'll get back out there quick."
Miller has never had hamstring issues before in his career, but he isn't too concerned.
"It's just something that got a little tight on me," he said. "But it's nothing too crazy. They said the strength is there, so hopefully it was just a big cramp and now it's just sore."
The Mariners limited his activities on Monday. He played catch and took some swings in the cage. But he did no on-field work.
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