02/28/2013 7:38 PM ET
Felix, Mariners pleased after first BP session
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners ace Felix Hernandez threw his first live batting practice of the spring Thursday and said he felt sharp in the 32-pitch performance on a back field at the team's Spring Training complex.
Hernandez, being brought along on his own slower schedule out of respect to the heavy load he's asked to carry every regular season, won't throw in a Cactus League game for another week.
"For sure, I want to go out there," Hernandez said. "I could throw at least two innings. But obviously we're going step by step and it's working pretty good."
Hernandez faced four Minor League hitters Wednesday, including Gabriel Guerrero, the 19-year-old nephew of Vladimir Guerrero. It wasn't a very fair matchup, but Hernandez got his work in and the youngsters had the thrill of their lifetimes facing one of baseball's premier pitchers.
"I'm just doing what I do, trying to get ready. I made good pitches today. They looked different, but they're going to get better," Hernandez said of facing the Minor League group that also included James Jones, Mike Dowd and Ji-Man Choi.
Hernandez had previously thrown three 10-minute bullpen sessions without a hitter in the box. He'll likely throw another live batting practice before being put into game action next week.
For now, he's pleased with his progress.
"I threw all my pitches today ... slider, curveball, everything," he said. "I'm almost there, almost 100 percent. My mechanics were pretty good. I had good balance and felt pretty good. I'm happy about it."
As were the Mariners' brass, as general manager Jack Zduriencik, manager Eric Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis all watched the session closely and came away pleased.
"Felix threw the ball great," said Wedge. "With regard to what we were hoping to see and what he looked like, it was fantastic. A lot of life, good arm action, good command, he was strong. He just really threw a good, live session of BP today."
Garland feels 'really good' in first spring start
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Veteran right-hander Jon Garland, competing in a game for the first time since having shoulder surgery in 2011, threw a scoreless first inning Thursday in the Mariners' 4-3 victory over the Giants.
Garland, trying to win a spot in Seattle's rotation as a non-roster invitee on a Minor League contract, gave up a single to Buster Posey and a walk to Pablo Sandoval, but emerged unscathed while throwing 21 pitches.
For Garland, it was a welcome first step as he returns from rotator cuff and labrum surgery that wiped out his entire 2012 campaign.
"It just felt really good," Garland said. "To a certain extent, it felt normal. It felt like that's where I belong and that's where I should be. I'm very happy with it."
Garland, 33, said his adrenaline was flowing for his first game in 20 months.
"I just haven't been out there in so long, with umpires, in uniform and throwing to guys like that," said the 12-year Major League veteran. "I've thrown bullpens and thrown on the back fields. But until you get in that game situation and the blood going, you don't really know how you'll feel. It was a little different, but it felt good to get out there and throw strikes and keep the ball down."
Manager Eric Wedge said he'd have to see how Garland feels Friday before determining his plan going forward, but was pleased with the initial outing.
"I thought Jon threw the ball well, especially for the fact he hasn't been out there in a long time," Wedge said. "He was down, used his pitches, had to work through it a little bit, but it was a good first outing."
Spring power show continues for Mariners
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Mariners clubbed two more home runs in a 4-3 victory over the Giants on Thursday and now lead all 30 Major League clubs in long balls this spring with 14 in seven games.
Young second baseman Nick Franklin hit his first home run with a solo shot off Matt Cain in the second inning, and center fielder Franklin Gutierrez added his second home run of the spring, an opposite-field shot in the fifth.
The Mariners have had 11 different players go deep, with Gutierrez, Justin Smoak and Carlos Peguero leading with two each. Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales, two players acquired by trade this offseason to add power to the lineup, have yet to join the long-ball club.
While it's early and it's Arizona, where balls carry easily, manager Eric Wedge is happy to see the production.
"We're going to be a much better hitting ballclub with the experience the young kids have gained, getting Gutierrez back and bringing in these veteran guys," said Wedge. "It's just a nice combination of some guys with experience and some guys that are working to be the big league players they're going to be.
"We've got good players that are strong and good athletes and good baseball players. Add all that up and you've got a chance to be a pretty good offensive club."
• The Mariners' six straight wins equals their longest Cactus League streak since 2004.
• First baseman Justin Smoak went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI in Thursday's win and is hitting .583 (7-for-12) with two home runs and five RBIs in four games.
• Young right-hander Carter Capps gave up a pair of singles leading off the eighth Thursday, then struck out the side as six Mariners pitchers racked up 10 strikeouts.
• Left-hander James Paxton will make his first Cactus League start Friday when the Mariners host the Rangers in Peoria. Paxton, 24, is expected to throw two innings and then give way to another top young prospect, right-hander Brandon Maurer.
• Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to start Saturday's game against the Dodgers at Peoria, with Jeremy Bonderman second in line in that game.
• The Mariners' next three games -- Friday through Sunday -- will be broadcast live on 710 ESPN Seattle radio starting at 12:05 p.m. PT. The first of six televised games this spring will be Monday afternoon against the Rockies on ROOT Sports.