Mariners ace Felix Hernandez left his start Monday afternoon with a lower back cramp, the team announced. He had thrown 105 pitches in 6 2/3 innings before walking off with the trainer. The Mariners say he was lifted as a precaution.
Hernandez, 27, dealt with back soreness earlier this season. He has been one of baseball's most durable pitchers in recent years, throwing at least 230 innings in each of the past four seasons. His last DL trip came back in 2008 for an ankle problem.
In 28 starts coming into Monday, Felix had a 2.97 ERA (123 OPS+) with a 4.85 K/BB ratio in 187 2/3 innings. He held the Royals to three runs in 6 2/3 innings before exiting Monday's game.
Hernandez signed a seven-year, $175 million contract extension with the Mariners over the winter.