ARLINGTON -- The Mariners have pushed Felix Hernandez's next start back a day as they work youngsters Hector Noesi and Erasmo Ramirez into their rotation, but manager Eric Wedge said he isn't concerned about his ace feeling fatigued in the final weeks of the season.
Noesi will start Monday against the Orioles as the Mariners open a six-game homestand. Ramirez will follow on Tuesday, with Hernandez now slated for Wednesday.
It will be Noesi's first start since rejoining the club as a September callup, while Ramirez has already won his initial outing since returning from Triple-A Tacoma.
Hernandez has lost three straight starts in September, with a 9.00 ERA on 16 earned runs and 30 hits in 16 innings against the Angels, A's and Blue Jays, but is still in position to make three more starts over the team's final 18 games.
Hernandez leads the Majors in innings pitched at 212 2/3, and this is the fifth straight season he's pitched over 200. Wedge noted that pitching coach Carl Willis always takes some precautions at this point, but didn't plan on any big changes.
"Carl and Felix communicate well and they both have done a pretty good job of monitoring Felix," Wedge said. "When you get down to the last month or so, you almost always back off your workload, whether it be your side days or training routine or whatever it may be. ... He's going to get an extra day this next time and that means a lot."
Wedge said he has seen no signs of fatigue with the 26-year-old.
"He still has good velocity," said Wedge. "He's still strong. He's stuck to his routine. He's been here before workload-wise. He's as strong and in as good of shape as he's ever been. I don't think that's it. It's just a matter of executing pitches."
One pitcher who will see his work reduced is veteran Kevin Millwood, whose last start was cut short after five innings and 66 pitches due to stiffness in his throwing shoulder.
"We're still going to give him some more time," Wedge said. "We don't have any firm plans with him yet, and we don't have to really, because of the flexibility with Noesi and Ramirez. We'll continue to give him some time and see how his shoulder comes back."