By Shannon Drayer
Velocity issue? What velocity issue. The only issue Felix Hernandez had after his final start of Cactus League play was the fact that the Game Day tracker called his fastballs changeups.
“Really?” he answered when told about Game Day. “I was throwing everything. Curve balls, sliders, changeups, cutters, everything. Why changesups? Because I was too slow? Really? Really?”
Felix’s velocity has been down all spring as noted in my post below. According to PitchFx data the average speed of Felix’s fastball last year was 93.4 mph. The average speed of his sinker was 93.2. Felix averaged 90.2 on his fastball today.
A very effective 90.2. Felix struck out six and surrendered just 2 hits in his four innings of work in the Mariners 7-2 win over the Rockies. His pitches had their normal nasty movement which is indicator that there is nothing wrong. Felix insists that he feels fine.
“It’s spring training,” he said. “I’m fine. I was trying to be like Jamie Moyer.”
Felix said that he has been unaware of his velocity all spring. He said he felt great in Japan and was not worried because everything felt right. Eric Wedge is not concerned either.
“He’s a pitcher first and foremost,” he said after the game. “The action he has on the baseball, the life he has on the baseball, that’s what counts. The velo is going to be there when he needs it.”
“He’s a guy that has such a tremendous feel to pitch and he is not that far off of what he normally pitches at anyway,” he continued. “As long as he keeps throwing the ball the way he has been throwing it, in particular the last two starts, that’s what we are looking for.”
News and Notes…Jesus Montero was hit in the helmet by a pitch from Rockies pitcher Edgmer Escalona and had to leave the game. Wedge and trainer Rick Griffin said after the game that Montero was okay. Okay but pretty fired up at the time. Wedge and Griffin had to keep him from going after Escalona as he walked off the field…Montero had a good day behind the plate catching Felix. Felix told me he felt confident throwing all of his pitches to Montero who did a nice job blocking some tough ones. Felix’s impression of Montero behind the plate? “He’s huge!” he exclaimed after the game…Tomorrow’s starter had been listed as TBA/Staff Day meaning they would scrape together nine innings somehow. Well TBA has been changed to Erasmo Ramirez…Jet lag is still causing issues with players and some reporters. Felix Hernandez and Justin Smoak both said they were unable to sleep more than four hours last night. Add to that the flu bug that is going around the clubhouse. Wedge hopes to get George Sherrill, Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders back into a game tomorrow. Add Hector Noesi to the list of those battling illness as he was sent home today…