The Twinkies elbow-out the Mariners

Not a good week so far: 0-3, and Felix Hernandez is on the DL until further notice.
Not a good week so far: 0-3, and Felix Hernandez is on the DL until further notice.

As Felix Hernandez warmed up in the bullpen at Safeco Field Wednesday night, April 18, some of us watching thought he looked about ready to go out and mow down the National League all-star lineup. Instead he threw just 24 times and probably won't toss again in a big-league game until well into May. King Felix has a regal-sounding but relatively benign flexor pronator strain, which is to say soreness near his pitching elbow, according to the team physician. It leaves the pitching-weak M's less than competitive after ending a three-loss series against Minnesota. The 5-6 locals now head back to the divisional fray, on the road with the Angels, Rangers and A's. It started to become clear after the third pitch Wednesday that young Hernandez wouldn't equal his prodigious initial two outings. After he served Luis Castillo a quick couple of strikes, the less-than-monarchical Felix gave up two hits and a walk, faced one more batter, and asked to be removed. Team doc Edward Khalfavan said the next day that it was just as well Hernandez had the presence of mind to pull himself; doing so may have kept the wunderkind from exacerbating the problem and causing a season-ending injury. As is, the right-hander has been ordered to avoid throwing at all for five days, to be followed by an indefinite wait-and-see time. Teammate J.J. Putz had a similar affliction during spring training and the closer now seems fine. The M's got a creditable effort from the bullpen after Hernandez left, losing 5-4. Thursday, lefty Jarrod Washburn faced Twins ace Johan Santana, a two-time Cy Young Award winner many consider the best lefthander in the game. Washburn started well but the Twinkies put up five during an eventful seventh and the game ended 6-5 when Jose Guillen, the potential winning run, fanned after a Raul Ibanez three-run dinger.


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