Bedard's next start pushed back; King Felix close to return

SEATTLE -- Mariners starter Erik Bedard will have his next start pushed back a couple of days after experiencing tightness in his throwing shoulder, and there is a chance the Seattle left-hander might not throw again until after the All-Star break.

Meanwhile, the Mariners could get Felix Hernandez back in the rotation either Thursday or Friday, manager Jim Riggleman said before Sunday's series finale against Detroit.

Bedard complained of tightness in his left shoulder after his start on Friday, when he went five innings and gave up one run, and left after throwing 99 pitches. Riggleman said the decision to pull Bedard was his, not the pitcher's, although Bedard has received criticism of late for not throwing more than 100 pitches in his last six starts.

"He's caught a lot of grief for coming out of games, but my only concern was about his hip and his back. But the other day, after the game he told the trainer his shoulder was tight," Riggleman said.

"He's been checked out and everything looks good. He felt better [Saturday], but he's going to be pushed back a little bit."

Riggleman believed Bedard was not fully healthy after suffering back and hip injuries earlier in the season. The shoulder tightness is a new ailment. Bedard was scheduled to throw on Wednesday against Oakland, and there remains the option of keeping Bedard out until after the All-Star break.

"I'm trying not to think that way because the reports from the doctors is we think he is going to be all right," Riggleman said of holding Bedard out until after the break.

Bedard is 6-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 15 starts.

Hernandez went on the 15-day disabled list on June 30, retroactive to June 24, after he sprained his left ankle when the Mets' Carlos Beltran slid into Hernandez's legs while he was covering home on a wild pitch. Hernandez threw a full bullpen session on Sunday and will have a lighter session on Tuesday. If all goes well, Hernandez will return either Thursday in Oakland or Friday in Kansas City.

Hernandez is 6-5 with a 2.83 ERA in 16 starts this season.

Closer J.J. Putz is also moving closer to returning. Putz has been throwing from flat ground at longer distances this week and if there are no setbacks in the next week, Putz is likely to go out on a rehab assignment during the All-Star break and could be back about a week after the team returns from the break.

Putz has been out since June 13 when he went on the disabled list with a hyperextended right elbow.