Felix Hernandez throws first bullpen session in M’s camp

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An MRI taken in early February — just before Felix Hernandez inked a record seven-year, $175 million contract extension with Seattle — revealed some potential long-term issues in the 26-year-old right-hander’s pitching elbow. But all is well for now.

According to beat writer Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, Hernandez was brimming with confidence after throwing his first bullpen session of the spring on Wednesday afternoon in Mariners camp.

“I was waiting for it for a long time,” Hernandez said of the 33-pitch indoor throwing session, which lasted about 10 minutes. “Now that I feel good, I’m going to just keep going out there like normal and go with my routine and prepare for the games.” Check the Seattle Times’ website for video of the workout.

“I thought he looked free and easy and looked really good for his first time out,” added skipper Eric Wedge.

“King Felix” registered a stellar 3.06 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 223/56 K/BB ratio across 232 innings last season. If all continues to go smoothly, he will start on Opening Day — April 1 — against the Athletics.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.