KANSAS CITY -- The Mariners aren't taking any risks with Felix Hernandez and have decided to push back the ace right-hander's next start from Sunday to Wednesday. That will give Hernandez eight days' rest since he left his Labor Day start against the Royals for precautionary reasons due to a lower back cramp.
"He feels good and wants to start on Sunday, but we're going to be cautious with him," manager Eric Wedge said. "We want him to get some flat ground work, get another bullpen in. He understands. It's really not going to affect how many starts he gets."
Since the Mariners have decided on a six-man rotation coming down the stretch in September, the change won't prevent any starter from having an adequate amount of rest. Erasmo Ramirez will start on Sunday with the normal four days' rest and Taijuan Walker will go on Monday, followed by Joe Saunders on Tuesday and Hernandez on Wednesday.
Hernandez threw 105 pitches when he left his last start against the Royals after putting his hand near the left side of his back. Subsequent medical observation determined that it was merely a cramp sustained on a hot day.
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.