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.

Ken Giles: ‘I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston’

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Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”

Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”

Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.