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Seattle Mariners

Felix’s year to start All-Star Game?

Sun., June 29, 2014

SEATTLE – It’s a debate Felix Hernandez wants no part of and one Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon says shouldn’t exist at all.

The topic?

Whether Hernandez should be the American League starting pitcher for the All-Star Game on July 15 at Minnesota.

“He should start the All-Star Game,’’ McClendon said flatly before the game Saturday against Cleveland.

“If they want to win, they should start him.’’

Told of that comment later, Hernandez waved it off, aware that such politicking is better left to others.

“I don’t want to talk about it,’’ he said. “I would love to start. That’s all I’ve got to say.’’

Managers, of course, are supposed to tout their own players.

But it’s hard to argue that the time might finally be right for Hernandez to get the start in what would be his fifth All-Star appearance.

Hernandez has pitched only twice in the All-Star Game, throwing scoreless innings in relief in 2009 and 2013, but not seeing action after being selected in 2011 and 2012.

By any statistical metric – traditional or SABR – Hernandez is pitching as well as anyone in the American League.

He’s tied for third in wins with nine, second in earned-run average at 2.24, second in strikeouts at 128, and first in WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) at 0.947.

And the stars could align just right to have Hernandez in his regular spot in the rotation for the All-Star Game.

Hernandez is scheduled to start today against the Indians, and if he continues to pitch every fifth game, he would make his final start July 10 at Minnesota. (The team has an off day July 3 and rainouts could also factor in.)

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