So here we all sit, watching the Mariners awkwardly go through the motions. The question is now no longer if the team will win more games than last year's (they won't), or if Jack Zduriencik should be fired following the final game (he should). The question revolves around something we never want to question: Felix Hernandez.
The team is calling Felix's current ailment "a minor oblique strain". Now there is a codified amount of bullshit in every official injury diagnosis. The rush for instant information from both team and media means that whoever is in charge of determining the location/extent of a sports injury has to come up with an official, exact sounding term while fishing around in a sea of gray. A minor oblique strain can linger, then it's a moderate oblique strain. Then a player pushes through it attempting to "gut through" the injury. Then the player reinjures it. Now it's not only a strain it's a "tear" and the player is on the DL and recovery times are as unknowable as the initial diagnosis.*
The fear of exacerbating an injury to the team's most valuable (and expensive) player in the midst of yet another losing season is real. At best Felix stands to make maybe 3-4 more starts if he comes back sometime next week. Those games will not matter. At all. Even less than baseball games usually matter. As a fan it's certainly nice to be able to watch Felix pitch. But at this point the team is fully looking forward to 2014 and the first priority should be making sure its bell cow is healthy and producing plenty of milk come March. I mean, it would be one thing if Felix pitching meant no more Joe Saunders starts. But sadly those, like death and taxes, are an unavoidable reality.
For his part Felix will have none of it. From the same link as before:
"I will pitch [again]. I'm fine," Hernandez said. "Why would they shut me down? I've got to go out there and do my best. That's what I'm trying to do. We're trying to finish strong. We're trying to win as many games as we can."
That's about exactly what I would expect Felix to say with a strained oblique, a torn shoulder, or a shattered femur. The King lives to pitch. It's part of why we love him. Fortunately there are supposedly smart people who can pull on the bit and reign him in a bit for his own sake if necessary.
I feel like I've probably given away my own bias here but I pose it to you, Lookout Landing Hivemind, in the below poll.
*I am not in any way privy to any sort of medical knowledge and/or process. I am a dummy.