Felix Hernandez looked solid, throwing a modified simulated game on Sunday at the Mariners Complex in Peoria. He will make his Cactus League debut on Thursday, most likely against the Royals.
Hernandez threw 39 pitches to a group of minor league hitters consisting of Gabriel Guerrero, Joe DeCarlo, Martin Peguero, Dario Pizzano and Luke Guarnaccia.
"It was fine," he said. "Feel pretty good. It was different, because I sat down and then came back and pitched one more inning. It felt the same. Felt pretty good."
Hernandez showed all of his pitches in the two inning outing.
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"The change-up was good," he said. " The slider was there. I’m happy."
Guerrero, who is nephew of this guy you may have heard of -- Vlad Guerrero, was the only person to really put a good swing on the ball, lacing a line drive to center field (above) in the second inning. Since there were no fielders, there was some debate on whether it was a hit. Catcher Kelly Shoppach yelled, "Nice catch Guti!"
Shoppach tried to describe the imaginary catch that Gutierrez made on the ball.
"It was a low liner and he was coming straight in," he said. "It was beautiful he just laid out for it and was about this high off the ground. He slid in, popped up and threw a little side arm toss to the second baseman."
"Oh, easy fly ball," Hernandez said. "The guy swung pretty good. He was swinging at everything."
Hit or not, that was all the hitters did much against Hernandez.
DeCarlo still had a starry look in his eyes after it was over.
"You don’t get to do that very often," he said. "I was excited. I was looking forward to it from the moment I heard I was coming in today. It was fun."
So how good was Hernandez's stuff?
"I mean, he’s the best. I was kind of in the batter’s box, looking for fastballs," DeCarlo said. "He’s nasty. I mean, it speaks for itself."
DeCarlo got a couple four-seam fastballs but didn't do much with them.
DeCarlo couldn't wait tell family and friends about the experience.
"I’ll remember it probably the rest of my career," he said.