Drayer: Mariners’ Felix Hernandez much happier with 2nd bullpen of spring training
PEORIA, Ariz. – Spring training felt like spring training Tuesday in Peoria. While the temps were still cool, the sun was shining as the full squad took the field for the Mariners. After the team went through their group stretch, the pop of the gloves could be heard. Pitchers warmed up, bullpens were thrown, there was a base running drill and rounds of batting practice, both live arm and off coaches. A lot of work to get in before games begin in the Cactus League on Friday.
Of most interest on the field was Felix Hernandez’s second bullpen of the spring. He declared his first bullpen to be just “OK.” Tuesday’s bullpen received a different review.
How did Felix feel about his bullpen today? pic.twitter.com/p500djqRNP
— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) February 20, 2018
Felix threw 37 pitches in his bullpen, mixing in his slider and changeup, which was particularly sharp. Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. was pleased to see Felix slow the process down. In the past Felix has started up late and ramped up quickly in spring training. The Mariners don’t need him throwing 100 percent in mid-February, though, and Felix took advantage of that focusing more on mechanics Tuesday.
Projected No. 5 starter Marco Gonzales threw in the same group as Felix. One of his tasks this spring is to reintroduce the cutter to his repertoire, which he didn’t use in 2017, his first season back from Tommy John surgery. He threw several in his bullpen but is still getting the feel for it. Something to watch in particular as the regular season approaches.