Expect to see Hernandez in an Ms’ uniform this season

  • By Kirby Arnold / Herald Writer
  • Saturday, July 16, 2005 9:00pm
  • Sports

Felix Hernandez is back on the mound, striking out hitters and watering the mouths of everyone who can’t wait to see him with the Mariners soon.

How soon?

Nobody’s quite ready to answer that yet, but it seems certain Hernandez will be in a Seattle uniform before this season ends.

The Mariners are handling their 19-year-old pitching phenom like he’s a Honus Wagner ballcard, careful not to fray any part of a player whose future could determine the success of the team for years to come.

He started the season well at Class AAA Tacoma but came down with a sore shoulder in June and went on the disabled list because of bursitis. He has pitched twice since coming back, and last week looked strong in two scoreless innings against Portland.

Hernandez has pitched 762/3 innings this season, rolling up a 9-4 record with a 2.23 earned run average. Opponents are hitting .201 off him, and he has struck out 83 of them.

Other pitchers have made it to the majors with lesser numbers. Hernandez’s time may not come soon as he builds himself back up from the injury, but it’s coming.

“I’d like to see it,” said Pat Rice, the Mariners’ minor league pitching coordinator. “He’s more or less ready.”

More, because his 98 mph fastball and quality offspeed pitches are easily capable of getting major league hitters out.

Less, because Hernandez still has a tendency to let adrenaline get the best of him. When he gets hit, loses touch with his control or simply gets too excited in a big game, he occasionally over-throws and makes matters worse.

He dealt with that issue in spring training and also at the Class AAA level, and deep down Rice hopes to see him go through it in the major leagues this year. It will help Hernandez learn to control himself during those times when he gets over-amped.

“It’s probably the one thing he’s learned to do as well as he can,” Rice said. “He realizes he can’t do that, but it’s hard not to get over-amped. He still does that at times at the Triple-A level, then he’ll settle down and make good pitches.

“When he gets called up, there will be the same reminder that he can’t pitch that way.”

Still, dealing with his emotions and even losing control of them at the big league level will do nothing but help Hernandez – and the Mariners – in the long run. That’s why he needs to come up this season.

“I think it would be really good for him,” Rice said. “How much time he gets, I don’t know if it really matters. I think it’s important just to get him over the hump, to get the opening-time jitters over with. That’s a tough thing to deal with.”

What’s important now, of course, is to get Hernandez’s arm back in shape.

In two outings since coming off the DL, he has looked fine. He has allowed just one hit in three scoreless innings – with five strikeouts.

“He’s doing great and we’re starting to stretch him out again,” Rice said. “The injury was very minor, if you even want to call it an injury. His stuff has been unbelievable and he seems to be fine.

“We’ll get him stretched out a little more and see what happens.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Lakewood High School.
Lakewood contests Week 3 game against B-E, wins WIAA appeal

The Cougars dispute an incorrectly spotted ball by officials on a penalty-riddled play in the 3rd quarter. The game will resume from that point in Week 10.

Monroe junior quarterback Blake Springer looks for an open receiver on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022 in Monroe, Washington. (Katie Webber / The Herald)
Week 4 prep football leaderboard

A look at the area’s top passers, rushers and receivers through three weeks of the season.

Prep roundup for Wednesday, Sept. 20

Prep roundup for Wednesday, Sept. 20: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for Sept. 11-17

The Athlete of the Week nominees for Sept. 11-17. Voting closes at… Continue reading

Marysville Pilchuck’s Kenai Sinaphet bruises the defense on a run against Marysville Getchell during the Berry Bowl on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, at Quil Ceda Stadium in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Associated Press high school football poll for Week 4

Marysville Pilcuck joins the top 10 in Class 3A; Lake Stevens remains No. 1 in 4A.

AquaSox pitcher Reid VanScoter delivers a pitch during a game against the Vancouver Canadians on Thursday, June 8, 2023, at Funko Field in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Community roundup: AquaSox’s VanScoter, Scott honored by NWL

Plus, GP grad Matt King is named to USA Swimming’s national team, Daniel Arias is waived by the Cardinals and more.

Minnesota Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson is shown during batting practice before a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2013, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023 bio: Rick Anderson

The 1975 Mariner graduate spent 16 seasons as an MLB pitching coach with the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers.

Arlington’s Emme Shaffer reacts to scoring point during the game against Stanwood on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
GALLERY: Arlington beats Stanwood in rivalry matchup

The Eagles earn a 3-1 win over the Spartans in the volleyball edition of the Stilly Cup.

Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi celebrates after his goal against the New York Red Bulls during an MLS soccer match at Red Bull Arena, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, in Harrison, N.J. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
How an Everett icon helped change U.S. soccer forever

Cascade alum Chris Henderson, Inter Miami’s chief soccer officer and sporting director, played a part in bringing megastar Lionel Messi to the U.S.

Most Read