By John Boyle Herald Writer
SEATTLE — After being held out of one start because of a sore back, Felix Hernandez will wait a couple more days before returning to the mound. Hernandez, who has not pitched since he lasted only five innings in a June 1 loss to Chicago, will make his next start on Tuesday, manager Eric Wedge announced Friday.
“We’re going to wait until Tuesday for him to pitch,” Wedge said. “We feel like he could definitely pitch on Sunday, but the fact of the matter is he’ll have six starts either way before the (All-Star) break, so it just makes more sense to take the cautious route and give him until Tuesday.”
Hernandez will throw a bullpen session before that start, likely today, and is feeling good Wedge said. But with a long season ahead, the Mariners aren’t about to rush him back into action.
“He wants to pitch as soon as he can, but with it being six starts either way with a four-day break, it just makes sense to give him a few more days,” Wedge said.
Blake Beavan will make the start Sunday, but unlike Hector Noesi, who pitched Wednesday on three days rest filling in for Hernandez, Beavan will be on normal rest because of Thursday’s off day.
Hernandez is 4-4 this season with a 3.42 ERA, but gave up four or more earned runs in four of his last five stats prior to being held out with a sore back.
Good to be home
Following their most recent road trip, which consisted of nine games in 10 days, the Mariners were thrilled to return home early Thursday morning. Even better? Their three-game series against the Dodgers is bookended by off days. Both a return to Safeco Field and a couple of days off are welcome news to a team that has played more road games than any in Major League Baseball, including a trip to Japan to open the season.
“It’s a big deal,” Wedge said. “A day off in the big leagues, a true day off, is a big deal to begin with, but when you’ve had the travel that we’ve had, all the more so. Monday will be really nice for these guys… To be home and then to have an off day and still be home is big.”
Welcome back, Dodgers
Prior to Friday night’s game, the Dodgers hadn’t played in Seattle since July of 2000. In that time, every team in baseball except for the Milwaukee Brewers made a trip to Safeco Field. The Mariners won two out of three against Los Angeles in that last series at Safeco Field, and came into Friday’s game with 12-10 lead in the all-time series.