SURPRISE, Ariz. - Felix Hernandez didn't like the green baseball cap Major League Baseball requires all its players to wear on St. Patrick's Day - and he wasn't crazy about his pitching, either.
“I threw everything tonight, and they hit it all hard,” the Seattle ace said. “I got my work in, but 80 pitches in four innings? That’s not good. And six runs? That’s terrible.”
The final line on Hernandez Thursday was ugly: four innings, nine hits, six runs – three earned – two walks, a wild pitch and seven strikeouts.
For any good thing you might mention, Felix countered.
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“Yeah, but six runs!” he said.
How about this? In the first inning, the Kansas City Royals had runners on second and third and no one out – then Hernandez struck out the side without another ball being put in play.
“Yeah, but after that look what happened,” Hernandez said. “Six runs!”
There were, well, extenuating circumstances.
Two errors cost Seattle two runs, and a botched rundown play allowed another to score. Of those nine hits allowed, four were infield singles – three of those by speedy leadoff hitter Jarrod Dyson.
“That little guy, he can fly,” Hernandez said.
With about two weeks to go before the start of the regular season, the Mariners aren’t about to worry about their Cy Young Award winner, and he’s not about to worry about himself.
“I’ve got to have a good game my next start, to get my confidence back,” he said, then laughed. “Just kidding.”
What he said he wants next is five innings, maybe 95 pitches, then a tuneup start, and then
“Then I’m ready for the season,” Hernandez said.
THEN THERE WERE 3
When the Mariners sent right-hander Charlie Haeger to minor league camp, it was to get him pitching regularly and stretch him out for use as a starting pitcher or long reliever.
That eliminated one contender for the No. 5 spot in the opening day rotation and left the Mariners with three men that pitching coach Carl Willis considered viable candidates – Michael Pineda, Luke French and David Pauley.
French and Pauley both pitched in minor league games Thursday.
After watching his team lose, 9-1, to Kansas City, manager Eric Wedge tried to be a little understanding.
“It’s the middle of spring,” he said. “In the beginning, guys are all fired up to be playing games. About halfway through, where we are now, they realize, ‘Hell, there’s a couple more weeks of this.’
“There’s no excuse for sloppiness, and this is not the way we’re going to operate. You’ve got to come to play, and the last couple nights, we’ve been a little sloppy.”
The Mariners cut their camp numbers to 47, counting injured pitchers David Aardsma and Shawn Kelley. They sent four pitchers to minor league camp: right-handers Dan Cortes, Chris Smith, Manny Delcarmen and Haeger.
The Mariners play host to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 1:05 p.m. game today that will be televised on FSN. Probable starting pitchers: Daniel Hudson vs. Jason Vargas.