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March 6, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Felix Hernandez to make Cactus League debut against Reds

Just got done speaking to Felix Hernandez, who said he’ll throw 65 pitches his next time out, then another 80 and be ready to go in Japan. He sure looked it today, retiring his final nine batters in what is now a 6-1 game, the M’s leading, in the top of the fifth.
One note to pass on: don’t mean to be alarmist, but Hernandez had an ice pack around his left upper leg and was limping rather noticeably. “Don’t worry about it,” he told me, indicating it was for his hamstring.
As I said, this could be nothing more than just routine post-start maintenance. Pitchers come up with a variety of leg issues after starts, especially down here in the heat. If he felt some tightness, the ice would be standard. I can already see the ice pack news is blowing up on Twitter a bit, but I’d rather let you know and have it be nothing than keep it to myself and see it morph into something later.
For now, he’s limping a bit post-start. But he wasn’t locked in a trainer’s room for a half-hour getting treatment. He came out and met with the media about as quickly as he normally does and brushed off all questions about his leg as being nothing serious. Other than that, he was his usual, chipper self during interviews. So, that’s what we know.
1:08 p.m.: The Mariners just went to town on Brett Tomko, scoring five runs in the third inning — three of them earned — for a 5-0 lead. A leadoff single by Adam Moore was followed by a Chone Figgins walk and then a perfect bunt towards first base that was covered by the first baseman. But he turned and had no one to throw to, loading the bases with none out.
Ichiro then lined a single to left to bring one run in and open the scoring.
Daryl Jones then lost a sac fly to center by Justin Smoak in the sun. Two runs scored on that two-base error, followed by sac flies from both Mike Carp and Casper Wells.
Felix Hernandez is done for the day, retiring nine in a row after hitting his first batter of the game. Hernandez struck out four and threw as many pitches — 35 — in three innings as Hisashi Iwakuma did in one frame yesterday. Big difference.
12:46 p.m.: Felix Hernandez hasn’t looked back since hitting Kristopher Negron with his first pitch of the game. Hernandez just struck Negron out to end the third inning, making it nine in a row he’s retired in this scoreless affair.
12:27 p.m.: The Mariners squandered a first inning rally off Mat Latos when Ichiro made a baserunning mistake and was tagged out. Munenori Kawasaki drew a one-out walk off Latos and then Ichiro caught a break when left fielder Willie Harris lost his fly ball in the sun.
That put runners on first and second and Justin Smoak lined a hard single to right. Kawasaki rounded third but was held up. Ichiro apparently didn’t see the signal because he rounded second and headed to third, arriving there with Kawasaki.
Ichiro backtracked, but was tagged out in the rundown. Mike Carp hit a ball to right center after that, but it was hauled in at the warning track.
Scoreless after one.

12:18 p.m.: We’re all set here at Peoria Stadium to see Felix Hernandez make his Cactus League debut against the Cincinnati Reds. And look who’s still playing baseball this spring, wearing a Reds uniform. None other than Miguel Cairo. Yep, he’s still around, playing first base today and batting sixth.
As usual, to follow along, stick right here and on my Twitter account @gbakermariners.
Hernandez hit Kristopher Negron with his very first pitch of the spring. He then struck out Willie Harris — with Negron stealing second on the play — and Daryl Jones back-to-back before getting Ryan Ludwick to pop out harmlessly to second.
The lineups:
2B Kristopher Negron
LF Willie Harris
CF Daryl Jones
DH Ryan Ludwick
RF Chris Heisey
1B Miguel Cairo
C Ryan Hanigan
3B Wilson Valdez
SS Paul Janish
RHP Mat Latos
SS Chone Figgins
2B Munenori Kawasaki
RF Ichiro
1B Justin Smoak
LF Mike Carp
CF Casper Wells
3B Alex Liddi
DH Johermyn Chavez
C Adam Moore
RHP Felix Hernandez

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins, Hisashi Iwakuma


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