PEORIA, Ariz.–Felix Hernandez took a big step toward returning to games Tuesday morning throwing his first bullpen since getting hit on the right arm two weeks ago in a game against the Cubs. Originally scheduled to just throw fastballs his first time out, he successfully lobbied to throw a few curveballs and a changeup as well.

“I wanted to get good work out of this one and it feels good,” he said after. “I’m happy with that bullpen.”

Felix said that he threw at mostly 70-80 percent but did up the intensity on a couple of pitches to test his arm. The results were good.

“Bottom line is it feels real good. Everything was fine, under control around the zone,” he said.

The plan now for Felix is to throw another bullpen on Thursday and if all continues to go well enter games shortly after. Both he and the club believe he only needs 2 or 3 starts to get ready for the season.

“I’m telling you man, I will be ready,” he said. “I’ve done this before on purpose so I can do this. I need a few games and I will be fine.”

Felix is referring to the plan he has followed the past 4-5 years to get ready for games. Start late, build up quickly. While the Mariners hoped to build him up slowly this year, that will not happen. It also seems unlikely Felix will get the Opening Day start, although club officials refuse to rule that out.

Doing the math, if Felix continues to feel good after throwing and the Mariners are willing to be slightly aggressive with his return, if he throws the bullpen Thursday and pitches in his first game Saturday, he could get three starts in before camp breaks and line up for game 3 of the regular season. …read more

Source:: – Sports


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