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Felix Hernandez at Mariners spring training: ‘I gotta prove people wrong’

Felix Hernandez allowed two runs and struck out five in his final start before the World Baseball Classic. (AP)

A lot has been made of Felix Hernandez’s ramped-up workouts over the offseason, and it was clear that they had their intended effect when he showed up at Mariners spring training on Tuesday.

A fit-looking Hernandez faced local media for the first time since after the final game of last season, and the King appeared to bring a chip on his shoulder to the Mariners’ complex in Peoria, Ariz.

“I gotta prove people wrong,” Hernandez said.

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He has certainly had his doubters over the offseason, spurred on by two straight seasons of diminishing numbers and a calf injury that put him on the disabled list for nearly two months last summer. That brought about concerns that the soon-to-be 31-year-old was no longer the ace of the staff that he used to be, and it ignited a workout program that Hernandez and the Mariners hope will help him get through the 2017 season with no injuries and a renewed dominance on the mound.

Hernandez acknowledged that he has heard the doubts, but he wasn’t about to give them credence.

“I don’t know why (people are doubting me),” he said. “Still here.”

As for what his workouts concentrated on: “Working on everything. The whole body. To be balanced. The whole body, left and right side.”

Perhaps the best news is that Hernandez is feeling the benefits and is ready to go.

“I feel fine,” he said. “I mean, I feel healthy. That’s the main thing.”