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Mariners’ Felix Hernandez confident he will be ready for start of season

Felix Hernandez vowed to be ready for opening day after taking a line drive off his arm. (AP)

PEORIA, Ariz. – Felix Hernandez walked into the Mariners clubhouse Tuesday morning and, from a short distance, nothing looked out of the ordinary. But on his way to his locker, a group of teammates stopped to ask how he was after getting hit by a line drive in his start Monday against the Cubs. Felix showed them the spot just below his elbow where he was hit, right on the star tattoo with the number 13 commemorating his 2013 All-Star selection.

M’s have to wait to determine severity of Felix’s injury

“It was real bad,” he said minutes later at his locker. “I can’t explain how bad it was. I never felt anything like that before. I finished the pitch and then saw the ball coming and said ‘Oh my God.'”

Felix said he lost all feeling in the arm initially after being hit by the ball off the bat of Cubs catcher Victor Cartini. The pain quickly followed.

“It still hurts a lot. It was sore since it hit me. I couldn’t do this or that,” he said flexing and straightening his arm. “But the X-ray came out negative so I think I will be fine. The bad thing was I was feeling good yesterday. I was throwing the ball real good.”

Manager Scott Servais saw the same thing.

“I really liked how he was throwing the ball yesterday. He did a couple of things differently, things that he doesn’t do a lot of and he got good results,” he said.

Felix’s day will now be spent in the training room getting treatment on his elbow to try and ease the swelling and stiffness. Once he is pain-free, Felix said he wants to get back to work. It sounds like that is the plan.

“It’s a little bit of a setback, it’s not the end of the world,” said Servais. “I think we get a ball in his hand as soon as possible. The report I got today was positive. He’ll get in for treatment. It’s literally day-to-day.”

Felix most likely can afford to miss a start in spring training, although it is not the path the Mariners wanted him to take this year, preferring he build up slowly instead. One way or another, however, Felix wants to be there March 29 when the Mariners open their season in Seattle.

“It sucks,” he mused. “I have been feeling pretty good and now I have a line drive off my elbow. You know what? It happens.

“I will be ready for opening day. Don’t worry.”

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