9/16/2013 7:15 P.M. ET
After bullpen session, Felix targets weekend for return
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Felix Hernandez felt fine physically while throwing a bullpen session on Monday prior to the Mariners' game at Comerica Park, but he won't pitch in a game until at least this weekend in Anaheim.
There was some hope of the Mariners getting their ace back by Wednesday to face the Tigers' Justin Verlander, but pitching coach Carl Willis said Hernandez needs another bullpen session on Thursday after not throwing off a mound since straining the oblique muscle in his left side on Sept. 2 in Kansas City.
"Because he hadn't been on the mound is such a long time, he felt a little erratic," Willis said. "As far as going out and competing, one more bullpen [session] will allow him to tighten things up a little bit. On the physical side, he didn't have any issues today."
Willis wants Hernandez to be fully ready when he does return and set Saturday or Sunday in Anaheim as the likely date, if all goes well Thursday.
"He's just played some catch and it's kind of an intermittent thing because he's tried to let this thing feel better, which it is," said Willis. "But he hadn't been able to do anything on the mound, coming down the slope as opposed to throwing on flat ground. It's a little different release point, so it's about repeating that mechanic again."
Hernandez could still potentially pitch in two more games this season, against the Angels and then the A's in Seattle's final homestand the following weekend.
Manager Eric Wedge said Hernandez deserves the chance to finish out the season if he feels 100 percent, even with the Mariners 17 games under .500 going into the Tigers' series.
"There's a lot of respect you have to give him, wanting to finish off the Major League season," said Wedge. "It's a fragile thing, but it's a mighty thing. It means a great deal to finish what you started. He wants to do it for his club, he wants to do it for the game and he wants to do it for himself. And I appreciate all that. He's earned that respect."
With Hernandez still out, Hisashi Iwakuma will start Wednesday's game against Verlander, with rookie James Paxton finishing the series up on Thursday against former Mariner Doug Fister. Erasmo Ramirez will pitch Friday's series opener in Anaheim.
Miller still sidelined by sore left hamstring
DETROIT -- Brad Miller sat out his second consecutive game on Monday, but the rookie shortstop said a sore left hamstring is feeling better and he hopes to return to action in a few days.
Miller played catch and took some swings Monday in the batting cage after staying off his leg completely on Sunday. The 23-year-old was removed from Saturday's game against the Cardinals in the fifth inning after feeling his leg tighten up while running out a sacrifice bunt.
"It felt like a big cramp when I was running down to first," Miller said. "Obviously I felt it pretty good. I knew I probably wouldn't be able to keep playing. It's still sore obviously, but it's feeling better each day. So hopefully as soon as I can, I'll get back out there quick."
Manager Eric Wedge sounded a more cautious note, however.
"He felt good today and he's going to take some swings in the cage, but he's still not doing anything from the running standpoint," Wedge said. "I still think he's days away. How many days, I don't know."
Miller said his leg felt fine prior to the bunt attempt and he doesn't remember having any hamstring issues before.
"It's just something that got a little tight on me," he said, "but it's nothing too crazy. They said the strength is there, so hopefully it was just a big cramp and now it's just sore."
With Miller sidelined, fellow rookie Carlos Triunfel got his second straight start at shortstop on Monday.
Despite funk, no rest planned for Seager
DETROIT -- Kyle Seager has struggled through a 2-for-29 stretch at the plate over the past eight games, going into Monday's series opener against the Tigers, but manager Eric Wedge will let the youngster continue building on his team-record 102-consecutive start stretch at third base.
"I've talked to him," Wedge said of a potential day off. "I don't think he needs it. I don't think he wants it. He has a tremendous routine, he's taken great care of himself. It goes back to the respect thing. As long as you don't think he's in harm's way and you feel he's going out there working through it, it's only going to make him better and us better. I'll continue to talk with him though."
Seager has been one of Seattle's best hitters all season, but he's hit just .193 (29-for-150) since Aug. 3 as his average has dropped from .300 to .272. He's still second on the team to Kendrys Morales in batting average and RBIs (66) and tied for second in home runs behind Raul Ibanez with 22.
Seager is the only experienced third baseman on the club at this point. Brad Miller has played some third, but he's currently sidelined with a strained hamstring. Wedge said if Seager needed to be replaced right now, shortstop Carlos Triunfel would move over to third and rookie Nick Franklin would play shortstop, with Dustin Ackley at second base.
• The Mariners' bullpen ranks 29th in the Majors with a 4.49 ERA going into Monday's series opener against the Tigers. Seattle ranked 13th in the Majors last season -- and sixth in the American League -- with a 3.37 mark last year. The relievers' ERA has been 4.67 since the All-Star break.
• Seattle's designated hitters have hit 23 home runs this season, tied for second with the White Sox behind only the Red Sox (30) after Sunday's games. Morales has 17 of those homers, with Ibanez hitting the other six while playing DH. Mariners' DHs hit 24 home runs in 2009 and haven't had more than 24 since hitting 38 in '00.