Blue Jays’ outfielder Steve Pearce didn’t make it out of the first inning on Friday. He struck out looking against the Tigers’ Buck Farmer and was replaced by rookie left fielder Teoscar Hernandez at the start of the second inning. A later report by the club revealed lower back stiffness, but a timeline for his return has yet to be established.
Pearce, 34, doesn’t appear to have a history of back injuries. He missed 110 days with a combination of calf tightness and a right knee contusion earlier this season, but has been relatively healthy since his return to the field in June and slashed .249/.320/.446 with seven home runs and a .766 OPS in the second half.
Following Pearce’s early exit, Hernandez went 1-for-2 with an RBI double to put the Blue Jays on the board in the fifth. They currently trail the Tigers 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth.
Mariners starter Félix Hernández will come off of the disabled list to make his final start of 2018 on Wednesday against the Athletics, MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports. Hernández has been on the disabled list since September 8 with a right hamstring strain.
Hernández, 32, has endured the worst season of his 14-year career. He’s 8-13 with a 5.46 ERA and a 121/57 K/BB ratio over 151 2/3 innings. Hernández wants the opportunity to finish 2018 on a good note. He said, “I feel good. No problems. It’s 100 percent. I just want to finish strong and show them I can still pitch. It wasn’t a big injury. They just wanted to give me some rest.”
Hernández is under contract for one more year at $27 million. He has been the face of the franchise for the last decade, but if he doesn’t show he’s capable of beating major league hitters by the end of spring training next year, the Mariners may not be able to afford to give him a spot in the starting rotation. Despite a second-half slide, the Mariners were competitive in the AL West this year, entering the All-Star break 58-39, five games out of first place. With some roster fine-tuning, the Mariners could give the Astros and Athletics a run for their money. Hernández’s involvement with that effort remains to be seen.