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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.