Felix Hernandez injury: Mariners cancel RHP next start due to back stiffness

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle says Hernandez's injury is not serious, but they want to be cautious with their ace.

The Seattle Mariners have scratched Felix Hernandez from his next start with back stiffness, reports Greg Johns of MLB.com.

The back issues started for Hernandez last Monday, when he exited his start early against the Kansas City Royals with a lower back cramp. Seattle initially planned to push his next appearance back from Sunday until Wednesday, but have now decided to skip his turn entirely. It is not clear when Hernandez will make his next start, per Johns.

Hernandez's back issue is not considered serious, but the Mariners want to be cautious with their ace, according to Johns. The club has little reason to rush Hernandez back into the rotation. Seattle enters Monday with a 65-78 record, and had already decided to use a six-man rotation during the final month of the year.

Brandon Maurer will start in place of Hernandez on Wednesday. Maurer was already scheduled to re-join the rotation, slated to replace Taijuan Walker after Monday night's series opener against the Houston Astros.

Hernandez has had another strong campaign, going 12-9 with a 3.01 ERA and 200 strikeouts. The right-hander has logged  200-plus innings in each of the past five seasons.

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