Mariners ace Felix Hernandez is expected to make his next scheduled start after exiting Opening Day start with tight right groin muscle.
Mariners fans had cause for concern on Monday night when Felix Hernandez was pulled from his Opening Day start due to a tight right groin muscle. According to general manager Jerry Dipoto, Hernandez being pulled from the game last night was a “precautionary” measure and was just “the right thing to do.”
Dipoto continued, “I was very encouraged with how he threw, and I believe he is as well. I thought he threw the ball great. Right now, we anticipate him making his next start.”
This is good news for a Mariners team that is without Drew Smyly, who was placed on the 60-day DL with a strained flexor in his left elbow. The Mariners were a popular pick among experts as a dark horse to contend in the AL West this season. Their ability to contend could be conitingent on the ability of their pitchers to remain healthy for the full season. This starts with their ace, Felix Hernandez.
Hernandez went 5.0 innings Monday night, giving up five hits, two ER, and striking out six. About his injury, Hernandez said “My last inning I felt it a little bit and I wasn’t pushing too much [off the leg], but I think I’ll be fine. A little tape, a little wrap, I’ll be ready to go.”
The 31-year-old veteran spent his first time on the DL since 2008 last season. With his unique wrap around windup it is not surprising that as he ages he is starting to become more injury-prone. The way the Hernandez winds up ultimately puts more stress on both the elbow and the plant leg. But don’t tell that to Felix Hernandez. When asked if he would hold anything back when he returns to the mound he said, “It’s a game, so I’m not going to take it easy.”
Hernandez’s next scheduled start is Saturday in Anaheim against Mike Trout and the Angels. I would not expect the Mariners to be real aggressive with Hernandez in the next couple starts to make sure they don’t aggravate that groin even more.