SEATTLE -- Pitching for the first time in six weeks, Felix Hernandez allowed six hits and three runs in 3 2/3 innings in a Minor League rehab start Sunday in Class A Everett's 7-6 win against the Spokane Indians at Everett Memorial Stadium.
"I had some mechanical problems a little bit," said Hernandez. "I didn't feel comfortable, but it was OK. I wasn't sharp enough. It's been awhile, so that's what we expected. I have to do it more and more and I'll be better. I was opening up too much, I couldn't push. I don't know why, I was standing up. But I'll fix it."
Hernandez, working his way back from a strained right calf, is scheduled for another rehab start with Triple-A Tacoma on Friday at 7:05 p.m. PT against Colorado Springs at Cheney Stadium before rejoining the Mariners on July 20 to face the White Sox at Safeco Field.
Hernandez threw 59 pitches for the AquaSox, almost exactly on target for the 60 pitches or four innings outlined in his rehab program. He allowed just one hit with four strikeouts in the first two scoreless frames, then gave up a run in the third, when Spokane's Darius Day lined a triple over the head of Mariners first-round Draft pick Kyle Lewis in center and scored on a single by Blaine Prescott.
Things that got rocky in the fourth, when the Indians parlayed two walks and three singles into two runs before Hernandez was taken out of the game by Everett pitching coach Moises Hernandez, his older brother who is in his first year coaching in the Mariners organization.
"I said, 'Really, you're going to take me out?' Hernandez said. "That was fun. That was awesome. It was a great memory for us."
The 30-year-old Mariners ace is 4-4 with a 2.86 ERA in 10 starts on the season, but he hasn't pitched since a loss to the Twins on May 27. He then injured his calf four days later while stretching before a game and went on the 15-day DL for just the third time in his 12-year career and first time since 2008.
With Hernandez not scheduled to rejoin the rotation until the sixth game after the All-Star break and Taijuan Walker on the 15-day DL with tendinitis in his right foot, Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters Sunday in Houston that spot starter Mike Montgomery would get at least one more start after allowing one run in 6 1/3 innings in an 8-5 win at Kansas City.
James Paxton will start the first game coming out of the break against the Astros on Friday, followed by Hisashi Iwakuma on Saturday. The Mariners haven't set the remainder of their rotation, but Wade Miley, Wade LeBlanc and Montgomery will divide up the following three games before Hernandez rejoins the mix on July 20.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.