Mariners starter Felix Hernandez will miss four to six weeks after being diagnosed with a Grade 1 lat strain, manager Scott Servais announced before Tuesday’s game against the Oakland Athletics.
Hernandez was placed on the 10-day injury list Sunday, one day after giving up seven earned runs in 2 1/3 innings at Boston. The injury is similar to the one that landed closer Hunter Strickland on the injury list in late March.
“It’s not quite as severe as what Hunter Strickland had (he just began playing catch again), but it’s disappointing for him,” Servais said.
Hernandez’s void in the rotation could be filled by Wade LeBlanc, the Mariners starter who has been on the injury list with a strained right oblique. LeBlanc allowed one run in 4 1/3 innings in a rehab start with the Tacoma Rainiers on Monday night in Las Vegas. He threw 59 pitches.
“We could run him out this weekend for 75 to 80 pitches, and that’s where we might go, but nothing is set yet,” Servais said. “(LeBlanc) threw good, his fastball was fine. … He said his cutter was just OK, but his location, and most important, his health was totally fine.”
After a solid start to the season, Hernandez has allowed 17 earned runs over 13 1/3 innings in his past three starts and his ERA has ballooned to 6.52.
Second baseman Dee Gordon was out of the starting lineup again after entering Monday’s game as a pinch-runner in the 10th inning, then stealing a base and scoring the tying run in Seattle’s 6-5 win.
Gordon, who has been out of the lineup since being hit by a pitch on the right wrist Thursday, took batting practice Tuesday and Servais hopes Gordon will be ready to start Thursday against Minnesota after Wednesday’s off day.