Last week Felix Hernandez had his start delayed due to what the Mariners were calling a lower back cramp, but it turns out it was actually an oblique injury and now he’ll miss the rescheduled start too.
Hernandez was supposed to pitch Wednesday against the Astros, but Brandon Maurer will take his place after a weekend throwing session didn’t go well.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge told Greg Johns of MLB.com that Hernandez’s injury is “a minor oblique strain” but oblique strains tend to linger a whole lot longer than initial estimates and with the team out of contention there’s no real motivation to rush him back.
Hernandez has been his usual excellent self this season, throwing 194 innings with a 3.01 ERA and 200 strikeouts, but also like usual the Mariners haven’t provided him with much run support on the way to a 12-9 record.
Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.
The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.