Seattle, WA (Sports Network) - Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez will not make his scheduled start Wednesday against the Houston Astros due to recurring stiffness in his back, the team announced Monday.
Hernandez exited his most recent outing, a 6 2/3-inning stint at Kansas City last Monday, after experiencing cramps in his lower back, and continued to have tightness during a throwing session on Saturday.
Brandon Maurer will take Hernandez's place on Wednesday. The rookie made 10 starts for Seattle early in the season, but has pitched exclusively in long relief since being recalled from the minors in late July.
In 18 overall appearances with the Mariners, Maurer has posted a 4-7 record with a 6.85 earned run average.
Hernandez, the 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner, currently ranks third in the AL with 200 strikeouts and owns a 12-9 record along with a 3.01 ERA over 29 starts.