Mariners RHP Hernandez to face Oakland on Friday

CHICAGO (AP) The Seattle Mariners pushed Felix Hernandez's next start back a day so they can put their ace on the mound for the opener of a big series against the Oakland Athletics.

Hernandez's next turn was slated for Thursday, but manager Lloyd McClendon said he wants his best pitcher going up against the AL West leaders. The move also provides extra rest for Hernandez, who threw at least 200 innings in each of the previous six seasons.

"It made sense to make that adjustment," McClendon said before Sunday's game against the Chicago White Sox. "It also gives him an extra day, so he can pitch on the sixth day. All the stars lined up, it just made sense."

Hernandez pitched eight solid innings in Seattle's 3-2 victory over Chicago on Saturday. The right-hander, who won the AL Cy Young Award in 2010, is 7-1 with a 1.72 ERA in his past 11 starts.

Hernandez has gone at least seven innings and allowed two or fewer runs in each of his past 10 outings.

McClendon said he isn't sure yet who will start Thursday's game against Minnesota.