Some pitchers may feel a little intimidated with a Cy Young Award winner casting a tall shadow in the dugout. But when you’ve won that award yourself, it’s a little easier to go about your business.
That was Felix Hernandez a few minutes ago, when he threw a 33-pitch simulated games against minor league hitters. With Randy Johnson watching.
It was an interesting meeting of the Mariners’ two American League Cy Young Award winners. Johnson won it with them in 1995 (and went on to win four more NL Cy Youngs with the Arizona Diamondbacks from 1999-2002) and Hernandez won the AL Cy Young last year.
Yes, they talked about it.
“He told me I needed four more Cy Youngs,” Hernandez said. “And he said, ‘You need 4,000 strikeouts to get me.’”
Johnson struck out 4,875 in his career.
“I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll be there. Don’t worry,’” said Hernandez, who has struck out 1,042 in five-plus big-league seasons.
As for his stuff on the mound, Hernandez said he felt good.
“It’s been a while,” he said. “I feel great. The adrenaline goes up and you want to strike out everybody.”
In the controlled environment of the simulated game, where the number of pitches was more important than the number of outs, Hernandez struck out five. He allowed only one ball that might have been considered a hit, a bloop into right field.
“I was throwing strikes, the breaking ball was good, the changeup was all right,” Hernandez said.
Pitching coach Carl Willis said this morning that Hernandez would pitch three innings in Tuesday’s exhibition against the San Francisco Giants.