PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) -- Without the pressure of being Seattle's ace, Felix Hernandez is focusing his attention on perfecting his pitches this spring.
The 21-year-old Hernandez pitched two scoreless innings in his spring debut for the Mariners, who lost 11-10 to the San Diego Padres on Saturday.Hernandez, who allowed a hit, walked one and struck out one, said he threw only three breaking balls and focused mostly on his fastball command, which he felt had been inconsistent."It's been real good," Hernandez said. "I've had a lot of command. Last year it was a little bit off. Today my fastball ran some inside and outside."The right-hander was 14-7 with a 3.92 ERA in 30 starts last season to anchor the Mariners staff. Before training camp started, Seattle manager John McLaren said recently acquired Erik Bedard will be his No. 1 starter because he has more experience than Hernandez, who has made just 73 starts over three season.Padres starters, on the other hand, are struggling to get outs.Randy Wolf allowed three runs and three hits in his San Diego debut while getting just two outs.On Friday, Shawn Estes lasted just two-thirds of an inning in his first outing in almost two years.Wolf was 9-6 with a 4.73 ERA in 18 starts for Los Angeles in 2007. The left-hander said he's feeling strong after undergoing shoulder surgery last September."Obviously my feel and touch aren't there yet but physically I feel good," said Wolf, who signed a $4.75 million contract in the offseason. "It's kind of typical of the way my springs are. I wish I was one of those guys who rolled out of bed and had a great delivery but usually it takes a little time with me. I made some good pitchers and others I was off. I wasn't able to throw where I wanted to."Padres manager Bud Black was mostly focused on Wolf's health, though he was pleased with some of what he saw from the veteran pitcher."Overall it was positive based on what came out of his hand," Black said. "His command isn't where it needs to be but I liked his overall stuff."Padres rookie Chase Headley had a two-run homer and a a two-run double. Headley is competing for an outfield job.Mike Morse, who is challenging for a backup outfield job with Seattle, also had two hits and two RBIs. Out of minor league options, Morse has reached base in all six of his plate appearances, including Thursday's charity game.
Right-hander Mark Lowe, trying to return from two elbow operations, said he felt "great" Saturday. Lowe threw 33 pitches in batting practice against hitters on Thursday, then threw long tosses on Friday. Last year, when he missed all but four games of the season, he couldn't have done that -- he said it "killed me" to throw the day after pitching.