Felix Hernandez Returns as “King” in Sharp Rehab Start

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JUNE 13: Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners looks on during the game against the Minnesota Twins on June 13, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Mariners 20-7. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Last night, Felix Hernandez proved why he still deserves the moniker “King Felix”. In his third rehab start for the Tacoma Rainiers, the Seattle Mariners Triple-A affiliate, Felix tossed an absolute gem, only allowing four hits in six innings, none of which resulted in runs for the opposing Salt Lake Bees. He threw 87 pitches to face just over the minimum amount of batters. Felix accrued eight strikeouts, six of those coming consecutively in the second and third innings. Four other pitchers combined to seal the shutout for Felix, ending in the ninth save of the year for Jean Machi.

Felix Hernandez Returns as “King” in Sharp Rehab Start

Hernandez has been on the disabled list ever since his last major league start, a blowout loss to the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on April 25. During that start, he lasted only two innings and gave up four runs on six hits, including a two-run home run before being taken out of the game with shoulder soreness.

His road to recovery hasn’t been without its bumps; in his first rehab start, against the Reno Aces, he allowed five runs on four hits in just two innings of work. He threw only 50 pitches before being lifted. Felix dazzled in his second rehab start against Las Vegas, however, as he retired the first 14 batters he faced while striking out five and only allowing one run in five clean innings of work.

A definite date for his return has not been set, but it’s there’s hope that he’ll be back for Seattle’s next homestand at Safeco Field. The Mariners starting rotation has been struggling of late, allowing 54 runs in just the last six games. Across both of the last two games, the Texas Rangers produced a whopping 20 of those runs alone.

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