There may be no pitcher on the Seattle Mariners who thinks about throwing a no-hitter more than Felix Hernandez, who watched six teammates do just that against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.
“I think about it every time I pitch,” Felix said Saturday. “I was in the clubhouse (Friday) watching and once Kevin (Millwood) kept no-hitting them, I didn’t want to move.”
So Hernandez sat watching the game on television until Millwood left with a groin injury after six innings. Then he went to the dugout as five relievers finished off the no-no.
“It was unbelievable – it felt like I was pitching! It was a great game for everybody,” Felix said. “I want one now more than ever.”
Closer Tom Wilhelmsen, who finished the game with a perfect ninth inning, didn’t let himself think about the historic nature of Friday’s appearance until afterward.
“The best way I can explain it is, that was the item in my shopping cart that wasn’t on the list when I left home,” Wilhelmsen said. “My first thought was preserve the win.”
Given the 1-0 score, that was challenge enough.
As for 22-year-old catcher Jesus Montero, who caught the game, he printed a photo of himself and teammates celebrating the no-hitter and asked teammates to sign it for him Saturday morning.
NO DL FOR MILLWOOD
Millwood, the 37-year-old veteran who worked the first six innings of the no-hitter, spent his day checking in with the doctor, who said the right-hander didn’t need to go on the disabled list.
A mild strain in the groin might heal quickly enough to allow Millwood to make his next start, especially with a Monday off day for the team.
“We’re optimistic,” manager Eric Wedge said. “Kevin even played catch (Saturday).”
DRAFT PICK AGREES
Patrick Kivlehan, an outfielder/third baseman the Mariners took in the fourth round of the draft, agreed to terms and will begin his professional career next week in Single-A Everett.
Kivlehan, 22, didn’t play collegiate baseball until his final year at Rutgers, where he was on a football scholarship. As a senior “rookie,” he won the Big East triple crown – batting .392 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI – and was the Big East player of the year.
“I always considered myself a baseball player at heart, but out of high school I drew more interest from football programs,” Kivlehan said. “I missed baseball, but I fulfilled my football commitment before I went back to it.”
Flown to Seattle for physicals, Kivlehan and his parents were in the stands Friday when the Mariners no-hit the Dodgers.
“Pretty cool,” he allowed.
Throwing out the ceremonial first pitch Saturday was former Mariners reliever Mike Jackson, who worked out of the bullpen during two stints with the team. … Another draftee, seventh-round pick and first baseman Taylor Ard, agreed to terms.
The Mariners host the Dodgers in the series finale at 1:10 p.m. today on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley (3-4, 3.80 ERA) vs. Blake Beavan (3-5, 5.22).email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @LarryLarue