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Mariners may manage Felix Hernandez more carefully in 2018


During his end-of-season press conference on Tuesday, Mariners GM Jerry DiPoto mentioned that ace Felix Hernandez may be managed differently next season in order to get him to 30 starts. That may include utilizing pitch counts or skipping a start every now and then, Shannon Drayer of MyNorthwest.com reports.

Hernandez, 31, made 16 starts this season and finished with a disappointing 4.36 ERA and a 78/26 K/BB ratio in 86 2/3 innings. The right-hander battled bursitis in his throwing shoulder for most of the season, missing two months between late April and late June and another month and a half between the start of August and mid-September.

Hernandez is under contract for two more years, earning $26 million in 2018 and $27 million in 2019. He also has a conditional club option in 2020 that the Mariners may exercise depending on his health.

Mike Fiers may not be ready for start of regular season due to back issue

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Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”

Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.