February 28, 2013 at 10:55 AM
Mariners ace Felix Hernandez threw a live batting practice session to four minor league players today. He threw 32 pitches over 10 minutes, working in all of his offerings.
“I definitely threw at a hard speed, goodpitches,” Hernandez said. “It felt pretty good.”
Hernandez said he’s just about ready to where he needs to be in a game.
“I’m almost there,” he said. “I’m almost 100 percent. Like I said, my mechanics are pretty good. I had good balance and I feel good.”
February 23, 2013 at 10:46 AM
Here’s a much more up-close look at Felix Hernandez’s bullpen session this morning than we were able to show you the first time around when he was indoors. Today, he threw in the outdoor pen, with Mariners minor league catcher John Hicks forming the other end of the battery. Hicks gets a firsthand lesson on just how much movement there is to Hernandez’s offerings, as you’ll see early on in the video.
February 20, 2013 at 1:50 PM
Felix Hernandez walked out to the field after the rain halted on a cool, wet day here, took some warm-up tosses with bullpen catcher Jason Phillips, then headed to an indoor bullpen for a 33-pitch session that lasted about 10 minutes.
Hernandez threw mostly fastballs with some changeups mixed in. The session drew quite a crowd of onlookers, between coaches, front office types, media and Hernandez’s Seattle teammates. They were all either inside the bullpen area or pressed along an outer fence watching.
“I was waiting for it for a long time,” Hernandez said of his first throwing session since inking a 7-year, $175-million deal last week. “Now that I feel good, I’m going to just keep going out there like normal and go with my routine and prepare for the games.”
February 15, 2013 at 2:01 PM
Felix Hernandez arrives at spring training, eager to work himself back into fray after historic contract extension
Felix Hernandez played catch today and took part in fielding drills with his Mariners teammates for the first time since signing an historic seven-year, $175 million contract extension earlier this week. It’s been an exhausting, roller-coaster couple of weeks for Hernandez, who has been jumping in airplanes and starting and stopping his training ahead of arriving in camp last night.
The Mariners plan to take things slow with Hernandez, which is why he wasn’t out there throwing any bullpen sessions today like other pitchers have been doing since Wednesday. With the World Baseball Classic set to prolong camp this year, the Mariners say they aren’t in any hurry to rush Hernandez’s routine.
Hernandez is eager to get the process behind him and start playing baseball again. He figures it will take “a few days” to get into the swing of things, but is ready for it to begin.
“It’s a big thing for me, because it’s not in my mind anymore,” he said. “I’ve just got to go out there and do my best.”
Hernandez said the whole ordeal was “tough” — even the press conference, when he was overwhelmed with emotion after getting off a Safeco Field elevator and seeing team employees break into an ovation as he exited.
“It was hard not to be crying,” he said. “After the other day, in the elevator, with all the people there and to see my wife crying, it was hard for me.”
February 13, 2013 at 5:59 PM
Report: Mariners would get ‘extra’ season from Felix Hernandez at only $1 million if he blows out his elbow
After a weekend of speculation about Felix Hernandez and the protective language the Mariners had inserted into his contract, we now get some detail courtesy of Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of Fox as to what it was. A tweet put out by Morosi not too long ago says the Mariners have negotiated a clause in which they would get an extra, eighth year tacked on to Hernandez’s seven-year deal if he suffered a serious elbow injury that caused him to miss significant time.
The cost of that extra season? $1 million.
That’s quite the bargain if you consider the Mariners will be paying Hernandez an average of $25 million per year through 2019.
February 12, 2013 at 12:14 PM
A relieved-looking Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik just walked into the media room here in Peoria and announced that, as expected, the contract extension for Felix Hernandez is now complete.
A press conference has been scheduled for 2 p.m. PT tomorrow at Safeco Field.
“We’re headed out right now and Felix will be headed out shortly as well,” Zduriencik said. “We’ll give you all the details at that time.”
It is being reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that Hernandez’s old deal will, in fact, be torn up and replaced with a brand new seven-year, $175 million extension.
There will likely be a signing bonus attached to that, meaning Hernandez will very likely be earning far more than the $20.7 million he was initially slotted to make this year in base salary and a pro-rated bonus. That will impact the budget short-term and could be a reason the Mariners did not make any significant payroll additions the past few weeks.
Payroll was at $85 million as of today, with the potential to go to about $91 million if players reach easily-attainable incentives. We’ll see how Hernandez’s new deal breaks down.
Zduriencik sent out congratulations to Hernandez’s agents, Scott Pucino and Wil Polidor, calling them “very professional” in how they handled negotiations.
“I think it’s a great thing for the Seattle Mariners, it’s a great thing for Felix Hernandez and we’re looking forward to this guy being here for a long time, obviously,” Zduriencik said.
February 12, 2013 at 8:19 AM
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik expresses optimism that Felix Hernandez contract talks will conclude “sooner than later”
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has declined all comment up until now on the fact he is close to a contract extension with Felix Hernandez. But today, for the first time, he acknowledged that there have been ongoing talks that he says are close to being concluded.
“It’s no secret that we’ve been in negotiations,” Zduriencik told media members moments ago at the team’s spring training facility. “We’ve had really good discussions with his two representatives…so, although I don’t have an update for you right now, I will say that I think things have been very positive. There has been a good tone to our discussions. And I hope, on a positive note, that sooner than later, we’ll be able to announce something. But anything of this magnitude, both in terms of years and dollars, just takes time to work things out.
“But I would say that, at this moment, it’s been real positive, and hopefully sooner than later, we’ll have something to say to you that will be significant.”
February 11, 2013 at 10:43 AM
Sitting here at the Peoria Sports Complex awaiting the arrival later today of Felix Hernandez, who is still in negotiations with the Mariners over a long-term contract extension that will keep him here through 2019.
My feeling, from everybody I’ve spoken to the past 24 hours, is that something could be announced in another day or two.
The issues with Hernandez’s elbow and any potential long-term reprecussions from it can be dealt with by implementing new language in the contract. But as of right now, there is no short-term, immediate issue with the elbow. In other words, Hernandez is still the team’s No. 1 starter and is expected to be that on Opening Day. He’ll arrive here today to put stuff in his locker, then take a physical tomorrow along with other pitchers and catchers. It won’t have to be a complete physical like everybody else is doing because parts of it were already covered by stuff he had done in Seattle as part of this contract extension process.
February 10, 2013 at 12:50 PM
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik says Felix Hernandez will take the field this week in Peoria despite rumblings of a medical snag
Early yesterday, I started hearing rumblings that Felix Hernandez had failed a physical that he’d taken up in Seattle ahead of agreeing to a five-year contract extension that would pay him an additional $135.5 million starting in 2015. I placed a flurry of phone calls, including one to his agent, Wil Polidor, asking whether this was true. Polidor did not return the call, nor did he reply to text messages.
That alone was disconcerting, because if it wasn’t true that Hernandez had failed a physical — and I was led to believe last week that he’d already taken one — then most people would want to quickly nip that rumor in the bud and put it out. All it takes is a “No way, not true!” and you’re done. Now, Polidor is a busy man. But he’s known to get back in touch with people.
Still, this is the type of rumor you don’t want to put out there for the masses based on a non-returned phone call or text.
But then came this afternon, with ESPN’s Buster Olney putting out a tweet saying that “concern about Felix Hernandez’s elbow” might have impacted his talks about an extension.
Filed to ESPN news desk: Concern about Felix Hernandez’s elbow might affect contract talks about the proposed extension.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 10, 2013
Well, that’s a bit too much smoke added to the growing pile, so I phoned up Jack Zduriencik about 15 minutes ago and asked him point-blank whether Hernandez had failed a physical.
“I’m just not going to comment on that while negotiations are ongoing,” Zduriencik said. “That’s our policy. We don’t comment on any of that stuff.”
Fair enough, although again, that does nothing to put out the fire here. So, I asked Zduriencik whether Hernandez will be down in Peoria this week and whether he has been medically cleared to pitch.
“Oh yeah, he’ll be there,” Zduriencik said.
Zduriencik would not comment any further, other than to note that Tuesday is when all pitchers and catchers report to Peoria for their physicals before taking the field on Wednesday for a workout. He repeated that Hernandez would be among those players, but then would not go into any further details about the state of the pitcher’s health.