Felix Hernandez’s next start delayed by back issues

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Felix Hernandez won’t pitch again until next Wednesday after leaving Monday’s game with what was called a lower back cramp, MLB.com reports.

“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.”

Hernandez’s slim Cy Young chances have already died after four straight losses, including one Aug. 28 against the Rangers that ranks as one of the two or three worst starts of his career (9 R, 8 ER in 3 IP). His ERA has jumped from a American League-leading 2.44 to 3.01.

The Mariners are going with a six-man rotation this month, so they won’t need a replacement for Hernandez on Sunday.