EVERETT — One day after Everett officially announced that Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez would pitch for the AquaSox in a rehab start on Sunday afternoon, manager Rob Mummau confirmed that Hernandez will not be the only member of the big-league team to suit up for the Frogs this weekend.
Left-handed relief pitcher Charlie Furbush is scheduled to start and pitch one inning for the AquaSox in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader with the Eugene Emeralds at 6:05 p.m.
Furbush, who is currently on the 60-day disabled list with left shoulder tightness, has not pitched in a game since July 7, 2015. Furbush threw to a couple AquaSox players at Everett Memorial Stadium earlier in the week and is now set for a rehab start.
Furbush will be the second Mariners pitcher, along with starter Wade Miley, to pitch for the AquaSox this season. Hernandez, who is scheduled to pitch Sunday, will be the third less than a month into the season.
“We’ve always had a few guys come through. We always love having them,” Mummau said. “Just the fact that our guys get to see that, and how they go about their business, is pretty cool.”
Lewis starting to roll
Outfielder Kyle Lewis, the Seattle Mariners first-round draft pick, boasts an eight-game hitting streak after Wednesday night’s contest against the Eugene Emeralds. Lewis was 3-for-5 with a three-run home run, triple and three RBI in the Frogs’ 12-1 victory over Eugene, finishing a double short of the cycle.
Over the last eight games Lewis is 13-for-32 with 10 runs scored, 13 RBI, two triples and a pair of home runs.
“He’s been great and getting his work in and had a great night (Wednesday),” Mummau said.
“… He’s got a good idea of what the strike zone is and isn’t, his hand-eye coordination is very good and his bat speed helps.”
Mummau said it takes college players a bit of time to adjust to wood bats, as well as the physical demands of playing everyday.
Lewis, who had three hits in his first six games, said he was adjusting to “some higher velocities” and modifying his approach to be successful with that.
“Not a lot changed for me,” Lewis said. “Just really trying to work on getting extension and staying through the zone. I felt like I was kind of being short through the zone earlier in the year for whatever reason. It happens in baseball. You get 10-game stretches where you’re just not feeling it as well. Mine just happened to be at the beginning of the year. So for me, now, to be able to have some success, hopefully I can just keep it going.”
Lewis hopes to continue his recent power surge for the AquaSox, who are battling in a wide-open race for the Northwest League’s North Division first-half title.
“I’m definitely more comfortable just seeing good pitches to hit and putting good swings on it,” Lewis said. “I’m just trying to improve on that everyday and think about what I did when I had a good day and just try to mimic that everyday.”
Sunday’s game featuring Felix Hernandez sold out
It didn’t take long after Wednesday’s official announcement that Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez would pitch in Everett this weekend for tickets to Sunday’s game against the Spokane Indians to sell out.
Speculation earlier in the week that Hernandez might make a rehab start at Everett Memorial Stadium as he comes back from a right calf strain led to an increase in ticket sales for Sunday. Less than a day after Wednesday afternoon’s official announcement, the limited number of remaining general admission seats were gone.
“People came in yesterday to buy tickets — and people had already been buying tickets up,” Everett general manager Danny Tetzlaff said. “I came to the office this morning at 9 a.m. and we had been selling tickets all night. They were selling online like crazy.
“The phone kept ringing off the hook. We sold the 120 we had left in less than an hour (Thursday morning) and we were sold out by about 10 o’clock.”
The AquaSox posted an announcement on their website at around 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, confirming the news that Hernandez would be starting on Sunday.
To accommodate the larger crowd, gates will open an hour early at 2 p.m. for Sunday’s 4:05 p.m. game against Spokane. Tetzlaff encourages carpooling and arriving to the ballpark early.
“It’s a once in a lifetime thing to have a Cy Young winner up here,” Tetzlaff said. “We’re going to have a bigger crowd than I bet this place has seen in years. We’re excited, that’s for sure.”
While the AquaSox have no more tickets, Tetzlaff suggested asking friends, families and businesses about tickets.
“If you ask around you might find some,” he said. “We don’t have any.”
Sox Doubleheader set for Friday
Rain postponed Thursday night’s contest between the Everett AquaSox and Eugene Emeralds. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Friday with two seven-inning games starting at 6:05 p.m.
Seattle Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush is slated to start Game 1 and pitch one inning before another pitcher comes in, likely Jake Brentz (0-1, 2.81 earned-run average) who was scheduled to start Thursday’s game. Danny Garcia (1-0, 0.00 ERA), who was listed as the probable pitcher for Friday, will likely start Game 2, which begins about 30 minutes after the completion of Game 1.
Jose Paulino (1-0, 0.56 ERA) is scheduled to start Game 1 for Eugene with Manuel Rondon (2-0, 1.93 ERA) taking the mound for Game 2.
Gates for Friday’s doubleheader, which is also Webbly bobblehead night at Everett Memorial Stadium, open at 5 p.m. for season ticket holders and 5:30 p.m. for all fans.