King Felix: Patience is the Right Approach

The expectations for Felix Hernandez were high from the moment he was named the Mariners' opening-day starter during spring training, even though this was just his second full season in the major leagues. Then he lived up to the hype in his first two starts, going 2-0 in 17 shutout innings.

Since then, Hernandez has shown a mixed bag of effectiveness and struggle, and new manager John McLaren said the best approach is patience with his young pitcher.

"We've got to remember he's 21 years old," McLaren said. "The way he started, I think we expected perfection. I feel like Felix is going to get on a roll and give us a bunch of wins down the stretch, but every now and then, there will be a game where the frustration and inexperience will catch up with him. We have to give him a little bit of slack there."

Hernandez's last outing was one of those games. He allowed baserunners in every inning, but was burned only in the sixth Monday, when Jay Gibbons hit a three-run homer to put the Orioles ahead 3-2 on the way to an 8-3 victory.

Hernandez clearly was disappointed by that outing, but McLaren was enthused by his young pitcher's demeanor the next day. "I like to read a guy's body language, and what I saw out of Felix was positive," McLaren said. "He was frustrated last night, but I was glad to see him bounce back."

MARINERS 6, ORIOLES 5: Adrian Beltre drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning as the Mariners scored the go-ahead run and moved 1-1/2 games behind the first-place Angels in the AL West. J.J. Putz pitched a perfect ninth, recording his 28th save this season and extending his team record of 30 straight saves going back to last year.


--SS Yuniesky Betancourt, who went 3-for-4 and set up the winning rally with a leadoff double in the eighth inning, is batting .556 in the past six games.

--3B Adrian Beltre's bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning was his eighth game-winning RBI this season.

--LF Raul Ibanez, who batted .136 in the first six games of the homestand, didn't start Wednesday as manager John McLaren gave him what amounted to a two-day breather, including Thursday's off-day. "I just felt like he might be getting a little frustrated and a little tired," McLaren said.

--LF Ben Broussard is batting .309 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in the 26 games he has started this season.

--McLaren, unable to hold back a wry smile after Wednesday's victory: "The Angels lost tonight? Yeah, we scoreboard watch. I'm having a lot of fun. When games mean something, you want to be there."

BY THE NUMBERS: 25 -- Number of base runners allowed this season by RHP J.J. Putz, who has 26 saves.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "This (Tigers) team is going to be in the playoffs. And if we're fortunate enough to get there, we know we can play with them." -- Jose Vidro, after splitting a four-game series with Detroit.


CF Ichiro Suzuki (bruised right thigh) left the July 15 game. He played as the DH on July 16, and he returned to center field July 17.

LHP Horacio Ramirez (left shoulder tightness) went on the disabled list May 25. He threw his first bullpen session June 19. He threw a 50-pitch simulated game June 25. He started an injury rehabilitation assignment June 30, pitching for Class AAA Tacoma. He was activated July 16.

RHP Cha Seung Baek (shoulder) went on the disabled list retroactive to June 17.

RHP Jon Huber (elbow) went on the disabled list retroactive to June 7. He threw on the side July 3.

RHP Sean White (right biceps tendinitis) went on the disabled list June 2. He threw his first bullpen session June 27.

RHP Mark Lowe (right elbow) had a second surgery on the elbow this spring, a move designed to remove scar tissue. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Tacoma on July 3.

LHP Arthur Rhodes (left elbow) went on the disabled list retroactive to April 1. He had Tommy John surgery on May 2, and he is out for the season.

LHP Cesar Jimenez (stress fracture in left elbow) opened the season on the 60-day disabled list. He began a minor league rehab assignment in late June.

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