Mariners’ Felix Hernandez on first outing: ‘It looks good, I feel good’
GLENDALE, Ariz. – In my post earlier Tuesday, I talked about why Felix Hernandez’s first start of the spring should look different than in recent years past and what I hoped to see. It is still a first start, but because of his importance to the team and the clear need after last season to make changes, there was a little more weight on this one.
The results? So far, so good in my opinion.
I saw what I needed to see at this point of the game. Good focus, good presence, and a good ability to get out of trouble – some not self-inflicted – both in counts and situations. As for his pitches? Felix liked what he saw.
“Really happy,” he said after his two-inning appearance in the Mariners’ 8-1 victory over the White Sox. “It looks good, I feel good.”
Felix threw 33 pitches while allowing one run on three hits and one base-on-balls. He was able to get two double-play balls, and the walk, by all accounts, should have been a strikeout as the umpire made a bad call on a curveball.
“That’s part of the game,” Felix said of the call. “I made good pitches at the end and I got out of the inning.”
With the start of the World Baseball Clcassic just a week away, Felix’s approach was different as he threw all of his pitches in his first outing, something he usually doesn’t do. The slider and curve were there while the changeup was still a work in progress. We saw a good amount of the fastball, both two- and four-seamers, as the Mariners would like him to throw more of it this year with better command on both sides of the plate. As for his velocity, he sat mostly 90 mph and popped a few 92s, something we didn’t see this early last year.
“I feel strong, feel real good,” he answered when asked if he could feel results from his new workout routine. “I’m healthy and I’m happy.”
Felix also enjoyed throwing to catcher Carlos Ruiz, who has caught a number of Cy Young Award winners.
“He’s real smart,” Felix said. “He was really good behind the plate. He called most of the pitches. I think I shook twice.”
Felix will make his next start next Sunday against the A’s and then will be off to join Team Venezuela for the WBC.