Felix Hernandez brought a special guest to his All-Star media session today at Citi Field in New York– son Jeremy, age 4, who seemed to enjoy listening to his dad field questions in both English and Spanish, and even tackling one briefly in Japanese before giving up. “I’m always arguing around with Kuma, so I know a lot of words,” he said.
Hernandez also brought his wife and 7-year-old daughter Mia with him, and his parents flew to New York from Venezuela yesterday. The Hernandez family and Hisashi Iwakuma flew out of Seattle yesterday on a private jet accompanied by Mike Trout of the Angels, but Felix said they didn’t rub in Seattle’s three-game sweep of the Angels.
“We just talked about something else, we didn’t talk about that,” Hernandez said.
Said Iwakuuma, through interpreter Antony Suzuki, another passenger on the plane: “It was quite an experience. I’ve never had the opportunity to fly with an opponent in the past. It was a good experience. You find out what kind of a guy he is with all the talent he has.”
This is Hernandez’s fourth All-Star Game, but he’s actually pitched just once, a scoreless inning in his first one, back in 2009 in St. Louis. Hernandez needed just eight pitches to retire Orlando Hudson, Albert Pujols and Justin Upton. He didn’t pitch in 2011 in Phoenix nor last year in Kansas City, but he said manager Jim Leyland has told him he’ll pitch. He just doesn’t know when or how long, though Leyland has already said that anyone who started Saturday, as Hernandez did, will pitch just one inning.
“I love the Home Run Derby, but I want to pitch,” he said.
Iwakuma, however, is out of the game because he started on Sunday. He was replaced on the roster by Royals reliever Greg Holland.
“He’s sad, because he wants to pitch,” Hernandez said. “But you know what? He just has to take care of himself and be ready for the second half.”
Iwakuma acknowledged he was disappointed to be out of action but said he’ll be a cheerleader for the American League.
“It’s very unfortunate to not be able to pitch,” he said, “but at the same time you want to take advantage of each moment being here, being an All-Star, being with all this talent. This is a special moment for me.”
Hernandez has tattoos on his right arm commemorating each of his All-Star appearances, as you can see here:
If his career keeps going the way it has, he’s going to have to start being creative.
“I’ve got a lot of space on my body,” he joked.
I asked Iwakuma if he had reserved a spot for a 2013 All-Star tattoo.
“Probably not,” he said.