Felix hit by liner, sustains bruised right forearm
MESA, Ariz. -- Felix Hernandez's first Cactus League start ended in painful fashion on Monday as the Mariners' ace was knocked from the 9-9 tie with the Cubs in the second inning by a hard line drive off his upper right forearm.
Hernandez was transported to the club's Spring Training facility in Peoria, where X-rays on his arm revealed a bruise, but no broken bones. He is day to day, according to the Mariners.
"He's going to be out a little while," manager Scott Servais said. "We'll know more in a couple days. It's unfortunate it happened, but lucky it's not any worse than it is. We'll just wait and see how he is the next couple days."
Hernandez had recorded one out in the second inning when Cubs catcher Victor Caratini hit a shot up the middle that caught Hernandez before he could react. The 31-year-old immediately wheeled off the mound in pain and didn't attempt to field the ball as Caratini ran to first.
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Mariners trainer Rob Nodine and Servais quickly ran out to check on Hernandez, who was ushered quickly to the clubhouse, screaming in frustration as he reached the dugout.
Hernandez had retired the side in order in the first with two strikeouts, then hit Addison Russell with a pitch leading off the second before exiting the game.
"He had all his pitches working," Servais said. "He threw the ball really well. It's just bad luck. Lucky for us it's happened early in the spring and he's got some time to hopefully recoup. We'll just have to wait and see how it is the next couple days."
The Mariners' rotation has been hampered by injuries over the past year. Seattle used 40 pitchers in 2017, tied for the most in Major Leagues, including a club-record 17 starters as Drew Smyly missed the entire season. Hisashi Iwakuma made only six starts, while Hernandez and James Paxton both had lengthy absences.
This season, the club has already seen starter Erasmo Ramirez shut down for the first two weeks of camp with a strained lat muscle in his right side.
Hernandez has made nine straight Opening Day starts, but he is in competition with Paxton this spring for that honor after coming off an injury-plagued 2017 campaign when Hernandez made only 16 starts -- going 6-5 with a 4.36 ERA while battling shoulder issues.
"He's been working his tail off to put himself in a good spot," Servais said. "We wanted to get him out there early this spring to build up his innings."
Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood was already out of Monday's Cactus League game and he didn't see Hernandez get hit, but he understood the significance.
"I hope he's OK," Chatwood said. "He's one of the great pitchers in baseball and you never want to see that. I hope he's OK and everything turns out to be all right."
Caratini also hit a hard comebacker last May playing for Triple-A Memphis that fractured the skull of Cardinals prospect Daniel Poncedeleon, who is just now back to pitching in Spring Training for St. Louis.