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.
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.