Erstwhile Mariners ace Felix Hernandez toed the rubber for the Tacoma Rainiers on Monday night and it shouldn’t be long before he’s donning a Seattle uni once again, according to a report from Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Hernandez, out since May 12th with a lat-strain, threw 69 pitches and was largely effective in Tacoma, utilizing an 88-90 mph fastball to limit the Salt Lake Bees to one run over three-plus innings pitched. Indications are that the living legend would slide into the M’s rotation come Saturday, which would end the weeks-long four-man rotation dance that manager Scott Servais has had to orchestrate since the club’s trade of Mike Leake at the MLB trade deadline. For what it’s worth, Hernandez is looking at this return as a moment to savor, saying: “It’s going to be my last year. I don’t know what’s going to happen next year so I need to go out there and show them that I still love the fans and still love Seattle.”
It has been a long time since Hernandez flashed the kind of dominance that he displayed during a halcyon 2009-2014 run, but his return should be a welcome reprieve for M’s faithful during a “step-back” 2019 season. Though they may not be able to count on him to pitch in vintage form, Hernandez’s return–along with expected promotions for prospects Justus Sheffield, Justin Dunn, and Jake Fraley–should help add some intrigue to Seattle’s September frames. Hernandez has a 5.75 ERA since 2018’s outset and is playing in the final year of a 7-year/$175MM accord.
More news from around the left coast…
- The blood clot complications experienced by Rockies relief ace Scott Oberg last week were a perspective-granting moment for those in-and-around the game of baseball. Though the Colorado org was looking to the veteran to handle save situations in the wake of Wade Davis’ dissolution, Oberg’s emergency hospital admission and subsequent surgery were a late-season reminder of the relative triviality of the game played between the lines. To their credit, Colorado is doing what’s necessary to ensure the long-term health of the righthander, as Oberg will travel with the team to St. Louis to see a specialist regarding his medical issue, per a tweet from Nick Groke of The Athletic (link). Primarily, the team wants to determine the danger involved with this recurrence of a blood clot for Oberg, who dealt with a similar issue in 2016.
- In less heavy news for the purple-and-black outfit, Rockies outfielder David Dahl was with the team in the visiting clubhouse of Chase Field on Monday, according to a report from Jake Rill of MLB.com. Dahl, who has been rehabbing at a team complex since he went on the injured list with a high right ankle sprain on Aug. 3, will also travel with the team to St. Louis, where he will continue a rehab regimen largely based around activities like underwater treadmill running and throwing. The 25-year-old lefty swinger made the All-Star team this year on the strength of a .302/.353/.524 batting line that is somewhat undercut by his park-adjusted wRC+ figure of 108. Dahl does expect to have a chance to return and improve upon that line before season’s end, although he likely won’t go on a rehab assignment due to the minor league season’s imminent closure.