Felix Hernandez isn’t letting anything get in the way of starting his 10th straight opening day for the Seattle Mariners.
Despite taking a three-week break from spring training games due to a bruise he suffered on his pitching arm from being hit by a line drive, Hernandez told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny, Dave and Moore that he’s the man to take the ball when the Mariners return home to Safeco Field to start the regular season against the Cleveland Indians on March 29.
“I will. I’ll be ready for that – for sure,” Hernandez said about the prospect of starting opening day.
Hernandez looked prepared in a minor league game in Arizona on Monday, throwing three strong innings in his return to in-game action.
“I’m ready to go, man. I showed them today that I was good,” Hernandez said, adding that he is confident he can build up his pitch count enough with just one more spring start to go. “I’m gonna go Saturday at least five, six innings, 75 pitches, 65, something like that, and then I’ll be ready for opening day.”
Not only would it be special for Hernandez to make his 10th straight opening day start (and 11th overall), it would carry extra meaning in that this is a rare year the Mariners are starting the season at home. Hernandez has made just two of his opening day starts at Safeco Field, the last being 2015.
“I would love to throw opening day in Seattle. It’s been a while,” he said.
Asked about the possibility of manager Scott Servais tapping James Paxton instead to open the season for the M’s, Felix was firm on his position.
“He won’t do that,” he responded.
You can hear Hernandez’s interview with Danny, Dave and Moore from spring training embedded above.