Felix Hernandez’s first bullpen goes well at Mariners spring training

Feb 27, 2016, 1:40 PM | Updated: 1:46 pm
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Felix Hernandez threw from the mound Saturday for the first time since the 2015 season and everything went well.

“You see what you see,” he told reporters after the bullpen session, his first of spring training. “I feel good. It feels really good.”

Related: Latest news, photos, video and more from Mariners spring training

Felix threw around 40 pitches, mixing in all of his pitches. His focus was on mechanics – mechanics that tripped him up last year. His struggle to stay closed in his delivery resulted in balls being left up and hit hard. His home run numbers were a frustration for him so much so that he did something he rarely does – consult the video. On video he saw that he was flying open with his front side, something he is much more aware of now.

“It feels different,” he said of the new mechanics, “but that’s good, too.”

This is the fourth straight year where Felix has started a little bit later than the other pitchers. The original idea was to conserve any innings they possibly could on Felix, who racked them up quickly in the regular season. The plan remains the same with all of his work tracking to Opening Day. Bullpens, live bullpen, simulated games and then Cactus League games are all counted back from April 4. It works for Felix.

“I don’t think I need to throw a lot of innings to be ready so just keep it like that,” he said.

The new coaching group is on board with the plan. Felix has had a lot of conversations with new pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre. I asked how that relationship was developing and was a little surprised by his answer.

“He’s different from his dad, I’ll tell you that!” he said.

Turns out Felix has now pitched for a father/son pitching duo as Mel Stottlemyre Sr. was Felix’s coach in 2008. Felix couldn’t quite articulate the differences but said it was all good.

“Just different. He’s fun. I’m not saying dad was not. Mel was more serious – Mel dad. Old Mel and new Mel,” he said with a laugh.

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