HOUSTON -- Felix Hernandez was taken out of Monday night's 3-0 Opening Day loss to the Astros after five innings when his right groin muscle tightened up, but the Mariners ace said the issue is minor and he expects to make his next start Saturday in Anaheim."It wasn't bad, just
HOUSTON -- Felix Hernandez was taken out of Monday night's 3-0 Opening Day loss to the Astros after five innings when his right groin muscle tightened up, but the Mariners ace said the issue is minor and he expects to make his next start Saturday in Anaheim.
"It wasn't bad, just a little tight," Hernandez said. "I think I'm going to be OK."
Manager Scott Servais also said he didn't expect Hernandez to miss any time.
Hernandez allowed five hits -- including home runs by George Springer and Carlos Correa -- and was trailing 2-0 when he didn't come out for the start of the sixth. He'd thrown 65 pitches and struck out six with no walks.
The 30-year-old was making his 10th Opening Day start and ninth in a row -- the longest active streak in the Majors.
Hernandez came up limping after being late getting over to cover first base on a groundout in the fourth inning and hit the base awkwardly. Servais and athletic trainer Rick Griffin went to the mound at that point, but Hernandez stayed in after throwing a few practice pitches.
He then retired the final batter in the fourth and threw a 1-2-3 fifth, punctuated by an inning-ending punchout of Springer, but Nick Vincent replaced him in the sixth.
The six strikeouts moved Hernandez past Roger Clemens into fifth on the all-time Opening Day list with 73. He's now 6-2 with a 1.76 ERA in his 10 Opening Day starts.
Before tweaking his leg, Hernandez was bit by the long ball. He'd only surrendered three homers in 66 1/3 innings in his previous season-opening efforts, but gave up two in the first four innings Monday.
Though he's looking to work more up in the zone with his fastball this year, the six-time All-Star threw a 2-1 heater to Springer that he was trying to locate down and away, but instead ended up in the middle of the plate. Springer didn't miss, launching a home run projected by Statcast™ at 389 feet into the friendly left-field porch at Minute Maid Park for the 10th leadoff homer of his young career.
The other homer by Correa -- a projected 459-foot blast, per Statcast™, that just stayed fair down the left-field line -- was simply a good piece of hitting, according to Hernandez.
"One mistake," he said. "The one to Springer. The other one was a a good pitch. I have to tip my hat to Correa. That was a good pitch. Unbelievable. He put a pretty good swing on it."
Otherwise, Hernandez and Servais felt all was good against a very strong Astros lineup, at least until his leg gave way.
"I was throwing a lot of strikes. That's the key," Hernandez said. "I was getting in good counts and making good pitches. I feel really good about the outing."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [
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