Amid caution, Felix to pitch on Monday at Safeco

Amid caution, Felix to pitch on Monday at Safeco

Amid caution, Felix to pitch on Monday at Safeco
ANAHEIM -- Though the Mariners are being careful with Felix Hernandez's workload down the stretch, manager Eric Wedge said his ace will make his final start on schedule on Monday at Safeco Field against the Angels.

Wedge pulled Hernandez after six innings and 103 pitches with a 3-2 lead on Wednesday and he wound up with a no-decision when the Angels rallied against the Mariners bullpen for a 4-3 win.

Hernandez is second to the Tigers' Justin Verlander in the Majors in innings pitched with 226 2/3.

This is his seventh straight year with 30 or more starts and he's one of just four Major League pitchers to surpass 200 innings in each of the last five seasons, joined by Verlander, the Giants' Matt Cain and the Rays' James Shields.

He also is one of just four pitchers with 200-plus strikeouts in the last five seasons, along with Verlander, the Giants' Tim Lincecum and the Phillies' Roy Halladay.

That's exclusive company and the Mariners are doing their best to keep Hernandez in one piece. He hasn't thrown more than 103 pitches in his last four starts and thus wasn't surprised when Wedge pulled him Wednesday.

"That was a lot of pitches and we're in September. Skip is trying to save my arm. It's good," Hernandez said. "My last game I was at eight innings and 100-some pitches and he took me out, so I had a pretty good idea."

"It's tough, but you just do the right thing for the right reasons," said Wedge. "That's what we did last night and that's what we always try to do. Felix has thrown a certain number of innings again this year and I feel like he's been strong. He was as strong as he's been all year last night. I loved his fastball and liked the end on his pitches. We want him to finish strong and feel good when he's done."