ARLINGTON -- With a cast encircling his prized pitching arm to hold down the swelling on a severely bruised right forearm, Mariners ace Felix Hernandez didn't look like a guy who'd be ready for his next start.
But fortunately for "The King," his next outing isn't scheduled until the Mariners regroup next year for Spring Training in Arizona.
Hernandez took a wicked line drive by Rangers third baseman Michael Young off his arm in the fourth inning of Saturday's 7-3 loss and was immediately hustled off the field by trainers, with X-rays showing no fractures.
"Oh man, that was scary," Hernandez said. "Good thing nothing is broke. It just hit muscle and everything is fine."
"We dodged a bullet there," said manager Eric Wedge. "It's unfortunate, but I'm just glad it's nothing serious."
Even so, Hernandez remained in pain two hours after being struck by the shot and admitted he didn't think he'd have been ready if he did have another start this season.
The 3 1/3-inning outing was his shortest of the season and he's only had two briefer starts in his seven seasons in the Majors. The 12 hits and seven runs allowed both tied season highs as he fell to 0-4 with a 5.04 ERA in four starts against the rival Rangers this year.
Hernandez said in the spring his one goal was to stay healthy all season, something he's done four straight years while piling up 200-plus innings as one of the Majors' top workhorses.
"Now, my last game of the season and I'm not healthy," he said. "It happens. I'll be ready for next year."
The scene was scary enough that Young phoned Hernandez from the Rangers clubhouse to make sure he was OK.
"I called him; he said he's fine," said the Texas veteran. "I've had a lot of at-bats against Felix. I have a lot of respect for him. I thought seeing how he was doing was the right thing to do, and he said he's fine."
The blow came during an already-bad inning for Seattle, as the Rangers wound up scoring six runs on six hits with several defensive misplays by the Mariners.
"They were hitting pretty good pitches," Hernandez said. "They found holes. They found a lot of holes. And then they found me."
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.