With the season running down and each game becoming increasingly more important, Seattle Mariners ace right-hander Felix Hernandez will make the next step in his return from a shoulder injury. Hernandez, who was sidelined for the month of August with bursitis in his pitching shoulder, will take the mound Wednesday night as the Mariners face the Texas Rangers. With the playoff hopes of the Mariners and Rangers on tenuous ground -- the Rangers are 3 1/2 games back of the Minnesota Twins in the chase for the second American League wild card, and the Mariners four back with less than two weeks to play -- it is a big moment for the former AL Cy Young Award winner.
With Japanese star Shohei Otani considering a jump to a Major League Baseball team, Commissioner Rob Manfred said he believes it will be hard for teams to circumvent existing contract rules in pursuit of the coveted two-way player. Otani's situation was among several issues, including pace of play, expanded rosters in September and a selected site for a proposed new stadium in Oakland, that were addressed by Manfred prior to Wednesday night's game between the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners. ''He's a great player,'' Manfred said.