Felix throws first 'pen session of spring
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners ace Felix Hernandez threw off the mound for the first time this spring with a 10-minute bullpen session Wednesday, tossing 33 pitches in the covered pitching cages at the Peoria Sports Complex due to rainy weather.
Hernandez, 26, has been held back during the first week of camp after reporting late while signing his new seven-year, $175 million contract. The Mariners also want to bring him along slowly, knowing he's got a long season ahead.
"He looked good," said manager Eric Wedge. "He was throwing pretty much fastball and changeup today, but I thought he looked free and easy and really good for his first time out. It was nice to see him get off the mound. It was a good first day for him."
Hernandez said he didn't throw any breaking pitches at the direction of pitching coach Carl Willis, but would use his full arsenal the next time out.
"I was waiting for a long time," Hernandez said. "Now that I'm out there, I can get going with my routine and get ready for games."
Wedge reiterated that there are no health concerns with Hernandez, whose contract signing was delayed briefly after MRI tests showed enough typical wear and tear on his throwing elbow that eventually a clause was written into his deal that will give the Mariners the option for an eighth year at $1 million if he misses 130 consecutive games over any two-year period.
"He's fine," Wedge said. "A lot of that stuff got out early, and whenever you're going through something like that it's a long process. And everybody did a good job with it. But we don't have any worries about Felix right now. He's just somebody we want to slow-play a little bit because we're starting games early and there's no reason for him to get out there early like that."