Hernandez leaves game with tightness in pitching arm
SEATTLE -- Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez left Wednesday night's start against Minnesota with tightness in his right pitching elbow after he got just one out and allowed his first two runs of the season.
The Mariners announced the 21-year-old phenom left "for precautionary reasons" and would be reevaluated tomorrow.
After Hernandez threw a 2-1 pitch to Justin Morneau in the first inning, he grimaced, turned away from home plate and immediately signaled to home plate umpire Ed Rapuano to halt the game. Hernandez then signaled for trainer Rick Griffin to come out of the Mariners dugout. Manager Mike Hargrove came out, too. After Hernandez briefly walked around the mound, squatted behind the pitching rubber and explained his pain to Griffin, Hargrove summoned long reliever Jake Woods out of the dugout to replace the pitching star of the young season.
When Hernandez left, a hush fell over the Safeco Field crowd that had been cheering his first two strikes of the game and then applauded when Luis Castillo led off the game with a single. It took into the eighth inning for Boston to get its only hit off Hernandez in his previous start. On Opening Day, Hernandez allowed just three hits and struck out 12 in eight scoreless innings of a win over Oakland.
Hernandez walked slowly off the field and tilted his cap back from his forehead while he talked to Griffin, who was at his side. At one point, Hernandez opened the palm of his hand toward the sky as if to tell Griffin he didn't know what had happened.
The Twins then scored again off Woods, the third run charged to Hernandez.
Hernandez was charged with two walks -- the second when Woods threw ball four to Morneau -- and threw a wild pitch that bounced in the opposite batters' box during his one-third of an inning. Only 12 of his 24 pitches were strikes on a chilly night that was the polar opposite of his first two wondrous starts. His wild pitch scored Castillo, the first run off Hernandez in 17 1/3 innings this season.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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