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.
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.
Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.
The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.
Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.
After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”
Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”
As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.