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SEA@KC: Felix allows a single run over eight frames

Tuesday's start against the Yankees at Safeco Field is going to be a surreal one for Mariners ace Felix Hernandez on more than just one level.

Not only will Hernandez face his former teammate of over seven seasons in Ichiro Suzuki, but he'll be doing it against Freddy Garcia, his boyhood idol.

Hernandez grew up watching Garcia, a fellow Venezuelan, when he pitched for the Mariners and then became friends with him when he signed with the team toward the end of Garcia's tenure with Seattle.

"When I signed, they brought me to Safeco and he was the first guy I met," Hernandez said. "I was always looking up to Freddy. He was my idol back in the day. He still is."

While the two never pitched for the Mariners at the same time, both are excited to take the mound against one another.

"He sent me a text a couple days ago saying, 'Dude, we're going to pitch together,'" Hernandez said. "I said, 'I know.' It's going to be fun. But I've got to do my job, too."

Hernandez has been doing just that as of late, going 4-0 with a 1.36 ERA in his past seven starts. He's also allowed just two runs in his last 24 2/3 innings.

He tossed eight innings against the Royals on Thursday, surrendering only one run on eight hits for his second straight win.

Meanwhile, Garcia will try and bounce back from a rough 4-3 loss on Thursday to the Athletics, in which he allowed four runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.

"I couldn't find my stuff today," Garcia said after the outing. "I was in trouble the whole game, but I was able to keep the game close."

Yankees: Ichiro acquired for two prospects
• The Ichiro Suzuki era began on Monday in Seattle, with the Yankees acquiring the outfielder in exchange for right-handers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar.

"This was something that was a surprise," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "It's an opportunity. I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out for us, because I do think he can really help us. I look forward to seeing if that's the case or not."

Batting eighth and playing right field on Monday against his former club, Ichiro finished the night 1-for-4 with a stolen base.

"I'm going from a team having the most losses to a team with the most wins, so it's been hard to maintain my excitement in that regard," Ichiro said through an interpreter.

Mariners: Zduriencik stands behind trade
• Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said trading Ichiro to the Yankees on Monday "was the right thing to do" after the veteran right fielder recently expressed a desire to move to a contending club.

Zduriencik said Ichiro's agent, Tony Attanasio, approached him about two weeks ago to let him know that Ichiro wondered if the club would consider trading him as he felt he didn't fit into the club's future.

"As we moved forward with this thing, for us, you have to look at what this player has meant to the Seattle Mariners and this city, this franchise and where he's at in his career," Zduriencik said. "So you just had to do the right thing. And for the player, this is the right thing to do."

Now without Ichiro on the roster, the move gives manager Eric Wedge the opportunity to give more playing time to his younger outfield prospects and opens up salary and roster flexibility next season without Ichiro's $18 million salary.

Worth noting
• Garcia has tossed 514 2/3 innings at Safeco Field, his highest total at any ballpark, with a career 3.65 ERA.

• The Mariners have scored in the first or second inning in seven of their past eight games.

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