Sore Felix expects to make next start
Tightness in back caused early exit from Saturday's game
SEATTLE -- Felix Hernandez still had a little discomfort in his back Sunday morning, but insisted that he will make his next scheduled start.
"You know me," he said. "I will be there in five days. I'll put some ice on it today and play catch. It will be fine."
Hernandez said he felt "a crack in my back" while throwing a pitch in the third inning on Saturday against the Rangers.
"After the inning, I told [head athletic trainer Rick Griffin] that my back was real tight. That was the first time in my career that happened."
The tightness became worse in the fourth inning and despite between-inning treatment, it got worse in the fifth inning. The Mariners' ace right-hander was replaced three batters into the inning.
"It was not me out there," Hernandez said. "I was not the same pitcher."
The "real" Hernandez went into the game with a club-record and Major League-leading 18 consecutive quality starts. But the five runs he allowed in 4 2/3 innings ended the streak.
"It was fun to have a streak like that going," he said, "but I'll just start a new one."
Wakamatsu sees too much aggression
SEATTLE -- Manager Don Wakamatsu believes low batting averages and urgency could be the key factors in the Mariners' penchant for leaving runners in scoring position.
"Some guys have gotten off to slow starts and that creates anxiety to be more aggressive to hit you way of it," he said. "On a team that isn't scoring runs, everyone kind of takes it upon themselves."
And the harder a batter tries to deliver the critical hit, the more likely he will swing at a pitch early in the count instead of waiting for a better pitch to hit.
That especially seems to be the case when there's a Mariner on every base.
"Rather than think the pitcher's in trouble, you're thinking about how to get a hit, and you're overly aggressive in those situations," Wakamatsu said. "Those are situation where patience is a wonderful thing."
Colome's outing impresses Wetteland
SEATTLE -- Right-handed reliever Jesus Colome was sitting in front of his locker after Saturday afternoon's game when Mariners bullpen coach John Wetteland walked up and congratulated the hurler for the job he did against the Rangers.
Colome smiled as he listened.
"It's not an easy thing to not be in a game situation for two weeks and have to come in and do the job he did," Wetteland said Sunday morning. "What I wanted to do was impress upon him that what he did was testament to the work he puts in every day."
Colome, making his first appearance since April 18, replaced Felix Hernandez with two runners on base and nobody out in the fifth inning on Saturday. He allowed a single and walk to the first two batters he faced, but retired the next nine batters, striking out two of them.
"We play catch together, he does his 'dry' work right along with the rest of the guys, and he throws off the mound every few days, but everything gets ratcheted up in game situations and that's the wild card -- the ability to calm the mind down, stay within your strengths and attack with those strengths.
"He did that, and it was impressive."
Sweeney scratched with sore back
SEATTLE -- A sore back knocked Mike Sweeney out of the Mariners' starting lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Rangers.
Sweeney, batting .179 (5-for-28) with two RBIs, was going to handle the designated hitter duties against Rangers left-hander C.J. Wilson.
Sweeney's unavailability gave Eric Byrnes another start in left field, and Milton Bradley moved from left field into the DH spot.
Mariners' first baseman Casey Kotchman not only has the longest errorless game streak going at 207 games and counting, but he also has the highest career fielding percentage by a first baseman in Major League history with a minimum of 300 games played -- .998. Kotchman, who has never won a Gold Glove, has made eight errors in 3,931 1/3 innings. ... The nine singles on Saturday ended a streak of 54 consecutive games with at least one extra-base hit, the fifth-longest in franchise history.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.