ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez, on the injured list since May with a right shoulder strain, will start Saturday night against the Blue Jays at T-Mobile Park, Manager Scott Servais said before Tuesday’s game against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Hernandez, who was 1-4 with a 6.52 ERA in eight games before the injury, pronounced himself ready for a major-league return with a three-inning, 69-pitch outing with Class AAA Tacoma on Monday night.
“His intensity level was very good, his curveball was good, the command of the fastball wasn’t as pinpoint as he would’ve liked it,’’ Servais said of Hernandez, who allowed one earned run, while striking out five and walking three against Salt Lake. “He felt healthy.’’
Servais said the Mariners will also call up left-hander Justus Sheffield from Class AA Arkansas. Sheffield will pitch Friday night’s series opener against the Blue Jays. Meanwhile, Servais said lefty Yusei Kikuchi (5-8, 5.19 ERA), coming off a complete-game shutout victory, will skip his next start in a pre-determined move to provide late-season rest.
Sheffield, who made one major-league appearance this season, was 5-3 with a 2.19 ERA at Arkansas after a rougher experience at Tacoma (2-6, 6.87 ERA).
“Shef has done well in Double-A and fit in with the fabric of that team,’’ Servais said. “It was a good move to send him down. He has been showing his power stuff and playing good baseball. We hope he can stay in the (major-league) rotation.’’