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Felix optimistic cramp won't have lingering effects

Ace exits with lower back discomfort in seventh after giving up three runs

KANSAS CITY -- Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez left Monday's 3-1 loss to the Royals for precautionary reasons because of a lower back cramp.

Hernandez put his hand near the left side of his back after a 1-1 pitch to Alex Gordon in the seventh inning before manager Eric Wedge and a trainer visited the mound. After consulting with Hernandez, Wedge made the move to the bullpen.

Hernandez threw 105 pitches in 6 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs on six hits and left the game trailing, 3-1.

After the game, both Wedge and Hernandez were optimistic that there would be no lingering effects from the cramp.

"We should be OK," Wedge said.

Hernandez, who was thoroughly checked by the medical staff after he came off the field, said he had never experienced a similar cramp.

"It was hot," Hernandez said.

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to
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