Mariners pitchers Hernandez & Phelps head to DL - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Mariners pitchers Hernandez & Phelps head to DL

Courtesy: Seattle Mariners Courtesy: Seattle Mariners

By Seattle Mariners

SEATTLE -- Felix Hernandez is expected to miss three to four weeks with bursitis in his right shoulder, the Mariners announced Tuesday, after the veteran right-hander underwent an MRI test on Monday.

The Mariners have 7 1/2 weeks remaining in the regular season, and they open a two-game series in Oakland on Tuesday night sitting one game back of the Royals and Rays for the American League's No. 2 Wild Card spot with a 57-56 record.

The Mariners are already without veteran right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, who has missed the past three months with a shoulder issue, and lefty Drew Smyly, who had Tommy John surgery and didn't pitch a game this season. Seattle has used 15 starting pitchers -- the most in the Majors.

Rookie left-hander Marco Gonzales was called up from Triple-A Tacoma to replace Hernandez, and he gave up seven hits and five runs in a four-inning no-decision in his Mariners debut on Sunday in an 8-7 win in Kansas City.

This is just the fifth time in his 13-year career that Hernandez has been on the disabled list, and three of those trips have come in the past two seasons. He missed four weeks in 2007 -- his third year in the Majors -- with a strained right elbow and 2 1/2 weeks in '08 with a sprained ankle.

Since turning 30, things haven't gone quite as smoothly, however. Hernandez sat out seven weeks last year with a right calf strain, and he missed two months earlier this year with the same bursitis diagnosis in his right shoulder.

Hernandez had his string of eight straight seasons of 200-plus innings -- and 10 straight with 190-plus innings -- broken last year when he was limited to 25 starts and 153 1/3 frames, going 11-8 with a 3.82 ERA.

This year, Hernandez is 5-4 with a 4.28 ERA in 73 2/3 innings over 13 starts. Though he's lowered his walk rate and increased his strikeout rate back to his career norms, he's still posted his highest ERA since 2006, highest WHIP since '08 and highest homer rate in his career.

Hernandez, a six-time All-Star, won the AL Cy Young Award in 2010 and owns a career record of 159-113 with a 3.19 ERA in 372 starts. He has two years and $54.7 million remaining on the seven-year, $175 million contract extension he signed in 2013.

Reliever David Phelps was placed on the 10-day disabled list by the Mariners on Tuesday, opening a roster spot for newly acquired first baseman Yonder Alonso.

Phelps is expected to miss two to three weeks after being diagnosed with an impingement in his right elbow following an MRI test on Monday.

The move creates an opening for Alonso, who was acquired by trade from the A's on Sunday. The Mariners begin a two-game series in Oakland on Tuesday night.

Phelps, 30, was one of the Mariners' most significant acquisitions prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline, as general manager Jerry Dipoto sent four Minor Leaguers to the Marlins for the veteran right-hander on July 20.

Phelps posted a 2.57 ERA in seven innings over seven appearances for Seattle, but he was taken out of Sunday's 8-7 win over the Royals in the first game of a doubleheader after facing just one batter. For the season, Phelps is 3-5 with a 3.33 ERA in 51 games.

Phelps said his arm hasn't felt quite right in his past few outings, and he felt continued discomfort in his elbow after throwing seven pitches to Drew Butera before getting him to fly out to center leading off the seventh Sunday.

"The last couple times out, I just really haven't gotten loose like I have in the past," Phelps said. "As far as getting loose in the bullpen it's been fine, but I get in the game and it's still tight. I can tell the ball just isn't coming out, and my stuff hasn't really been the same."

Phelps spent time on the disabled list in 2013 with a strained forearm and in '14 with shoulder inflammation while with the Yankees. He was also on the DL in '15 with a stress fracture in his forearm and last year with a strained oblique while with the Marlins.

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