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March 12, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Felix happy with tune up

Since the Mariners are playing the A’s on Opening Day — and a bunch of other times throughout the season — the team’s brass decided not to have Felix Hernandez face Oakland again today.
“I don’t know why,” said Hernandez with a smile. “They’ve seen me for seven years already” and saying that the A’s would see a different pitcher on Opening Day, anyway.
But since this was his day to throw, the team didn’t want to get him off turn, so Hernandez instead threw four innings on a side field this morning against a lineup of mostly minor leaguers.
Hernandez wasn’t quite in Cy Young form, giving up six hits and two earned runs, while striking out six and not allowing any walks, facing 18 batters overall. He threw 67 pitches, 42 for strikes.
Hernandez, though, shrugged off the hits, saying again with the smile that has typified his looseness throughout camp that “we’ve got some good talent here. They swing the bat pretty good take some good pitches.”
The setting, he said, was “not like high-intensity. … I was doing my work trying to get my pitch count up and work on my normal pitches. It was good work.”
Hernandez gave up a pair of doubles to 20-year-old catcher Steven Baron, who spent last year in Everett and may be at high A this year.
One came after a nine-pitch at-bat in which he fouled off three pitches before hitting it into left-center.
“In the first at-bat I throw all my pitches and he foul off all of my pitches and I throw a slider hanging and he crush me to the wall,” Hernandez said. “The second one I throw a curveball for a strike and a fastball four-seamer right on the corner and he just turned it around and hit another double I mean those are good pitches.”
Hernandez was also impressed that infielder Kyle Seagar, the team’s third-round pick in 2009, took a changeup that he said any Major League would swing at.
Overall, he said he was happy with all of his pitches except his slider.
“The curveball is always there,” he said. “The slider is a little rough but keep working on it. But changeup was there, changeup is good. Still working on my slider.”
Indicative of the makeshift nature of these games, there was one at-bat where Hernanez threw a 3-2 pitch to James Jones that no one could decide for sure if it was a ball or a strike (there is no umpire). So Hernandez simply threw another pitch, striking Jones out.
“It was close,” Hernandez said. “we didn’t have an umpire here so had to figure out if it was a strike or a ball.”
Hernandez will likely pitch again Thursday against Kansas City in Surprise.
Here’s the complete linescore for the “game”:
Felix Hernandez: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO, 1 HB. 18 Batters Faced.
24 balls, 42 strikes, 1 “other” – 67 pitches.
Hits – Baron (2, 2 doubles), Carp (2, 1 double), Halman, Seager.
Strikeouts – Saunders, Halman, James Jones (2), Carp, Seager.



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