No decision yet on final start for Felix

No decision yet on final start for Felix

ARLINGTON -- A decision on whether Felix Hernandez will start Sunday's regular-season finale at Safeco Field could be made as early as Thursday.

The Mariners' ace right-hander wants to face the Athletics, but he already has pitched more innings -- 249 1/3 -- than anyone in the American League this season, and the organization wants to make sure its best pitcher stays healthy.

"I would assume that there will be a meeting at some point tomorrow, before the game or after the game," interim manager Daren Brown said.

"It won't go up until last day and then run him out there. Felix will know what we are going to do. He will either go, or not go."

General manager Jack Zduriencik, pitching coach Carl Willis, Hernandez and Brown would all be involved in making the decision.

"It's important that we have people there that can throw out different scenarios," Brown said. "It's also important to have Felix involved so he can hear everything being said, one way or the other."

Hernandez made it crystal clear after Tuesday night's 3-1 victory over the Rangers that he would start on Sunday and finish off what has been the best season of his young career. He has set career highs in virtually every pitching department, except wins.

His 13-12 record could have a huge impact in the AL Cy Young Award voting, and although 14-12 doesn't look much better, another typical Felix outing could help his chances of winning the coveted award.

"I understand all about individual achievements and I like to give a player every chance to reach his individual goals for the year," Brown said, "but I think you also have to be smart about your decision, and a lot of things come into that.

"There might be some things I haven't thought of, and when you have three or four people in the room, you can come up with enough things so we won't miss anything."

Brown also understands why Hernandez is so adamant about wanting to make his 35th start of the season.

"We all know Felix. He's competitive. If it's his time, he is going to want to be out there. I understand that, and to be honest, I love that. That's what you love about Felix. He wants to compete. He wants to be out there facing hitters."

Whether or not King Felix has faced his final hitter in 2010 will soon be determined.