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09/19/10 8:47 PM ET

Mariners cautious with Felix's workload

SEATTLE -- Another scheduled off-day between starts means right-hander Felix Hernandez will make his third consecutive start with five days in between.

King Felix is slated to oppose the Blue Jays on Thursday. And after that?

"We'll address it after that," interim manager Daren Brown said on Sunday. "I would say he's going to be on his fifth day after that."

If that holds true, Hernandez would face the Rangers on Sept. 28 in Arlington, putting him position to also start the regular-season finale against the Athletics on Oct. 3 at Safeco Field.

"He understands what we're doing," Brown said. "With the off-days we've had, it's been easy to do. Everybody stays on line."

In the big picture, which might not include the Cy Young Award factor, it is more important to keep Hernandez healthy.

"He's 24 years old and has thrown 233 innings," Brown said. "It' something we'll have to monitor. We talk about stressful innings. I saw a stat on him a couple of days ago on how many scoreless innings he has pitched out of the 233. To me, the number was amazing."

That number is 193 -- and counting.

"I know I sound like a broken record, but he's important to where we're trying to go and he's somebody we're going to keep a close eye on and take care of him. We'll have to look at everything -- innings and number of pitches. He's thrown more pitches than anybody else."

Ichiro hitless as season total remains 193

SEATTLE -- The three-game series against the Rangers and the Mariners' next-to-last homestand ended on Sunday and right fielder Ichiro Suzuki remained at 193 hits for the season.

He went 0-for-3 against Rangers starter Tommy Hunter and was 0-for-1 against reliever Clay Rapada, against whom he hit a fly out to right field in the seventh inning of the Mariners' 2-1 victory.

Ichiro's next venue on his quest for a Major League-record 10th straight 200-hit season is Rogers Centre in Toronto, where a three-game series against the Blue Jays begins on Tuesday night.

Quiroz gets start as Mariners' regulars rest

SEATTLE -- The series finale against the Rangers on Sunday afternoon was "rest" day for several of the regulars.

Interim manager Daren Brown gave designated hitter Russell Branyan another day to give his sore lower back more time to heal; gave catcher Adam Moore the day off completely and put center fielder Franklin Gutierrez in the DH spot.

"With the [scheduled] day off tomorrow, it's important to try and have Branyan ready to go on Tuesday," said Brown, looking ahead to the series opener against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

"Guti has played quite a bit for us and he's had some issues with a couple of different things -- sickness and whatnot. We'll give him a break today and also use the day off to our benefit, especially this late in the season."

Gutierrez went into Sunday's game with five hits in his last 17 at-bats, two doubles, a home run and three RBIs.

Catcher Guillermo Quiroz, promoted from Double-A West Tennessee on Wednesday, made his first start and appearance of the season for the Mariners.

This probably will be a rare treat the rest of the way, watching Moore behind the plate.

"He's been catching a lot," Brown said of Moore, "and we expect him to catch a lot from here on out."

Worth noting

The roof at Safeco Field was open for Sunday's series finale against the Rangers -- a rare treat for Mariners fans. The roof has been closed at some point during 24 of the 76 home games this season, the most since the facility opened midway through the 1998 season. The previous high was 23, in 2007. ... Ichiro Suzuki is on pace to lead the Major Leagues in singles for the ninth time in his 10-year career. He went into Sunday's game with 157 singles.

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.