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Dipoto: Felix expected to miss only one start

Veteran righty avoided serious injury when hit by comebacker in last outing
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said Wednesday that he expects Felix Hernandez to miss only one Cactus League start after avoiding serious injury when he was hit by a line drive in Monday's game against the Cubs.

"It was a really scary contusion, which should not manifest itself in a long layoff," Dipoto said on his Wheelhouse Podcast. "He'll probably miss a start and will be right back."

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said Wednesday that he expects Felix Hernandez to miss only one Cactus League start after avoiding serious injury when he was hit by a line drive in Monday's game against the Cubs.

"It was a really scary contusion, which should not manifest itself in a long layoff," Dipoto said on his Wheelhouse Podcast. "He'll probably miss a start and will be right back."

Dipoto said he has been greatly encouraged by Hernandez's early spring work and is optimistic that the bruised forearm from Monday's incident won't be much of a disruption.

Video: 30 Clubs in 30 Days: Felix on injury, King's Court

"Felix is critically important to us," he said. "It was one of those moments that stops your heart a little bit. But once we got some feedback from the training staff and doctors and ultimately took three sets of images to make sure he's in a good place, I was very encouraged when he walked in yesterday with minimal swelling, the pain was down and there were no obvious signs of a fracture or break."

Video: The MLB Tonight crew on the injury to Felix Hernandez

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Hernandez was scheduled for his second start Saturday night against the Angels in Peoria but will now be pushed back at least to sometime next week.

"We're going to build his innings up the right way," Dipoto said. "I hate that we're going to have to skip through it and create this disruption in his schedule, but you do what you have to do based on the physical realities."

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Dipoto said the 31-year-old right-hander is the most "engaged" he has been in his workout program in the past three years and has thrown well in his initial work as he tries to rebound from an injury-plagued 2017 season.

"I think he looks great," Dipoto said. "His breaking balls, the spin particularly with his curveball, has been in midseason form since his second bullpen. I'm very encouraged by the way he's commanding his pitches. Frankly, I thought the first inning he threw in Mesa, if Felix Hernandez shows up and does that, we're going to be very happy with the outcome."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Felix Hernandez