PEORIA, Ariz. -- The big boys are back, at least most of them for the Mariners, who on Tuesday looked a lot more like the group fans can expect to see with the return of Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Jean Segura and Felix Hernandez following the ouster of their teams
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The big boys are back, at least most of them for the Mariners, who on Tuesday looked a lot more like the group fans can expect to see with the return of Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Jean Segura and Felix Hernandez following the ouster of their teams from the World Baseball Classic.
"They're all in good spirits, ready to go, ready to get the season rolling," said manager Scott Servais, who now only is missing closer Edwin Diaz from his Major League camp.
Hernandez made two starts for Venezuela and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, which he capped off with five scoreless innings against Team USA last Wednesday.
"I feel really good," said Hernandez, who'll make two more Cactus League starts and then be ready for Opening Day against the Astros on April 3. "That last outing against the United States was really good. Physically I feel great."
Getting the adrenaline pumping so high in mid-March was an eye opener for Hernandez.
"It was different," he said. "It was so pressured, the fans, everything, we have to win. It was fun."
Hernandez threw a few pitches off the mound Tuesday to get his arm loose and will start Thursday against the Giants in a 6:05 p.m. PT game at Scottsdale.
Cano and Cruz both played in all six games for the Dominican Republic, each going 6-for-20. Cruz hit three homers, Cano went deep in his last at-bat and both are ready to continue rolling. Segura only played two games at shortstop for the power-packed Dominican Republic squad, so he'll get extra duty in the coming days for the Mariners.
But he said the experience was invaluable.
"I've never been in that situation and I really enjoyed it," Segura said. "I knew the situation. I just took what opportunity they gave to me. I knew it would be real tight to play, just because we had so many good players. But now it's over and I'm here to stay."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [
@GregJohnsMLB]() and listen to his podcast.