- Associated Press - Thursday, September 30, 2010

SEATTLE (AP) - Felix Hernandez is done pitching for the season.

Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik says Hernandez will not start on Sunday in the regular-season finale against Oakland.

“It’s tough because you know how competitive he is,” Zduriencik said. “He wants to pitch. He certainly earned a right to pitch, but I asked him to respect our decision. This is something that he has to understand that it’s in his long-term best interest, the organization’s best interest.”

Zduriencik met with Hernandez on Thursday to inform him of the team’s plans.

“I understand what they are trying to do and they want me here for five more years so I understand,” Hernandez said. “For me, I want to pitch. I told Jack, ‘I want to pitch, but you’re the boss. You’ve made a decision.’”

Hernandez leads the majors with a 2.27 ERA and 232 strikeouts, and tops the AL with 249 2-3 innings. He is a leading candidate for the Cy Young Award with a 13-12 record.

Jered Weaver of the Angels could still top Hernandez for the AL strikeout lead and Boston’s Clay Buchholz could pass him for the ERA title.

“The decision is that he has had a phenomenal year, just a terrific season for us. he leads the league in several categories. At the age of 24 years of age we think that as we move forward in this organization, he’s the centerpiece of what we’re doing,” Zduriencik said.

There is some thought Hernandez could boost his chances with one more start. The Mariners say it’s in the team’s best interest that he not pitch.

“If you can’t look at what this guy has done to this point and realize that he has qualified for every accolade he could possibly receive, another five, six or seven innings is not going to make a difference I don’t think,” Zduriencik said.

Hernandez managed to win 13 games despite playing with the worst offense in the American League. The Mariners are on pace to score the fewest runs in franchise history outside of the strike-shortened 1981 season.

“It has to look good, all of the numbers,” Hernandez said. “Wins (are) not in my hands. The other numbers I’ve got, I think I’ve got a chance.”

“I want the Cy Young. Every star pitcher wants the Cy Young. It’s not in my hands,” he said.