Seattle ace Felix Hernandez will miss his next start on Wednesday because of back stiffness, MLB.com reported on Monday. Rookie Brandon Maurer will make the start against the Houston Astros instead. Cramping in his lower back forced Hernandez to leave his most recent outing after 6 2/3 innings on Sept. 2 in Kansas City. He was supposed to start Sunday's game, but that was pushed back, too. While throwing on Saturday, he felt more stiffness and the Mariners decided to proceed with caution. Hernandez is 12-9 with a 3.01 ERA and 200 strikeouts. He is third in the American League in strikeouts and fourth in innings pitched. Mauer has been pitching in long relief for a good portion of the season. He did start 10 games earlier in the year and has compiled a 4-7 mark with a 6.85 ERA.
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