(Video provided by Seattle Mariners)
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Felix Hernandez pronounced himself satisfied with his belated 2013 debut.
“Finally. Now I’m part of the Seattle Mariners. Just kidding,’’ he said. “I think it was a better debut than last year. I felt pretty good.”
In two innings against the Royals in Surprise today, Hernandez gave up two hits and a run, both in his second inning of work. He struck out two.
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Though his gun readings were a concern to some last spring, Hernandez actually had a strong debut. On March 6, 2012, he worked three scoreless, hitless innings against the Reds, striking out four.
Today, he peaked at 92 mph and sat in the low 90s, respectable for a first time out. He said he felt strong in the windup but struggled a bit to get his rhythm from the stretch.
“From the stretch, I was a little too quick,’’ he said. “I was opening too much. I need to work on that in the bullpen.”
Hernandez said he threw five or six changeups. The run off him came on David Lough’s double on a fastball that Hernandez said was down the middle, scoring Lorenzo Cain, who had singled.
Hernandez scoffed at the concerns over his velocity in last year’s camp.
“By the end of the year, I was throwing 94,’’ he said. “I’m just getting stronger and stronger. I feel better.”
Asked if he did anything different to prepare for this year, Hernandez said, “No, why? Nope. The same.”