Sports

Felix Hernandez of Seattle Mariners to bullpen amid struggles

HOUSTON — Felix Hernandez has lost his spot in the Seattle Mariners’ rotation in the wake of his latest terrible start in a season filled with struggles.

The right-hander, who threw a perfect game in 2012, will pitch out of the bullpen for the first time in the majors. He’s having the worst season of 14-year career as the Mariners chase their first playoff berth since 2001. Hernandez has a career-high 5.73 ERA this season and is 0-4 in his past five starts, capped by a clunker against the Rangers on Tuesday in which he allowed a career-most 11 runs — seven earned — on eight hits in six innings.

The six-time All-Star and 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner — who earned the nickname King Felix for his majestic presence on the mound — trotted from the dugout to the bullpen after the third inning Thursday night against Houston but did not pitch before manager Scott Servais announced the decision after an 8-6 victory over the Astros.

Servais said he spoke with Hernandez before the game and informed him of the decision. Hernandez has spent his entire career with the Mariners, with all 398 appearances coming as a starter.

“He’s done an unbelievable job as a Mariner,” Servais said. “And I certainly don’t take any of this lightly, but I just think trying to make the best decision for the ballclub and really the best…

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