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Felix Hernandez brought to tears in likely final start for Mariners

By Alex Butler
Felix Hernandez brought to tears in likely final start for Mariners
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez posted a 6.40 ERA in 15 starts this season. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Longtime Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez was brought to tears while leaving the mound during what was likely his final start for the franchise.

Hernandez, 33, was pulled out in the sixth inning of the Mariners' 3-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics Thursday in Seattle. Mariners manager Scott Servais walked out to take the ball from Hernandez after he threw 106 pitches. Hernandez smiled as he handed the ball to Servais before sharing a hug with his manager.

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Mariners teammates also hugged Hernandez as he stepped off the mound. The Mariners star lifted his hat to salute the crowd and wiped tears off his face before heading into the dugout at T-Mobile Park.

Hernandez is a free agent after this season. He said he doesn't know what the Mariners' plans are, but he plans to pitch in 2020. The Venezuelan right-handed pitcher made his MLB debut for the Mariners in 2005. He was a six-time All-Star and the 2010 Cy Young Award winner during his 15-year tenure with the Mariners.

"All these years I've played for Seattle, I was just having fun," Hernandez told reporters. "I want to thank the organization for the opportunity. There's a lot of different things going through my mind right now. I don't even know what to say.

"There are a lot of emotions out there. I've been here 15 years and there's a lot of stuff going on."

Hernandez finished the season 1-8 with a 6.40 ERA. He allowed three runs and five hits in 5.1 innings in the loss to the Athletics.

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"I said, 'It's time,'" Servais said. "I said, 'I'm proud of you and how you handled everything. And you will always be 'The King' in this town.' And he will. There will never be another like Felix here."

Hernandez's 2,524 career strikeouts rank No. 36 all time. He also owns a 3.42 ERA and 169-136 record during his MLB tenure. Hernandez led baseball with 19 wins in 2009. He led the American League in ERA in 2010 and 2014.

The Mariners host the Athletics in three more games, wrapping up the season-ending series at 3:10 p.m. EDT Sunday in Seattle.

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