King Felix hopes to return for Wild Card push

Mariners' ace hasn't pitched since July 31

King Felix hopes to return for Wild Card push

SEATTLE -- Felix Hernandez said he has received a PRP injection in his sore right shoulder, and is now waiting for clearance to begin playing catch and rehabbing from the bursitis that sent him to the 10-day disabled list last weekend. The veteran Mariners ace thinks he can be back sooner than the doctor's diagnosis of a 3-4 week absence.

Speaking to reporters for the first time since he was shut down and sent home to Seattle for tests in the middle of the just-concluded 10-day road trip, Hernandez acknowledged he's beyond frustrated with going back on the DL in the middle of the Mariners' playoff push, as they open a four-game series with the Angels on Thursday holding a one-game lead for the second American League Wild Card spot.

"I'm still angry," Hernandez said. "I'm trying to calm myself down, trying to smile to hide what I feel inside. I'm just hoping to get healthy and try to help. Try to help this team go to the promised land."

Hernandez has spent his entire 13-year Major League career with the Mariners, and has never made the playoffs, so he's itching to pitch in meaningful games down the stretch. But he'll be sidelined until September, unless he does return sooner than the doctors expect.

"They say it's the same thing, but I don't know," said Hernandez, who missed nearly two months with bursitis in the same shoulder earlier in the season. "They say 3-4 weeks, but I think I can be back earlier. I just have to be careful not to rush it, because I feel fine. I felt fine before the last start in Texas. The day I pitched in Texas, I felt good. The next day, I felt a little something in my shoulder, but I was fine before that."

King Felix placed on 10-day DL

Hernandez said the shoulder issue became apparent when he couldn't play catch a day after allowing four runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings on July 31 at Texas, then had to be scratched from his bullpen session prior to his next scheduled start.

Hernandez said it is a different scenario than when he had to be pulled midgame from a start in Detroit on April 23 with his first bout of bursitis. In that case, he says the pain was behind his shoulder. This time, it's on the front side.

"They say it's more inflamed than last time, but I feel better than last time. So I don't understand," Hernandez said. "I'm not a doctor, I just know what I feel."

Hernandez is 5-4 with a 4.28 ERA in 13 starts this season. This is just his fifth time on the DL in his career, but the third time in the past two years.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.