PEORIA, Ariz. -- Felix Hernandez's best move in his spring debut was avoiding a broken bat.
Seattle's ace dodged a flying piece of wood on a groundout by Brian Giles to end a quick first inning. Then Hernandez allowed four hits, including a two-run homer by Henry Blanco, in the second during the Mariners' 4-4 exhibition tie with the San Diego Padres in 10 innings Thursday.The 23-year-old Hernandez wasn't ruffled by the shaky outing, his only real tuneup before he starts the opener of the World Baseball Classic for his native Venezuela against Italy on March 7 in Toronto."Just throwing fastballs. It worked -- not in the second inning -- but it worked," he said.But that piece of sheared wood off Giles' bat that had Hernandez putting both arms over his head as it sailed past? That scared him."I didn't see the bat," he said.He said he's never been hit by a bat while on the mound.Not that many would have witnessed such a mishap. The announced attendance was 2,402, but it appeared to be far less than that."Wasn't a big one, was it?" said Jarrod Washburn, who pitched a scoreless inning behind Hernandez.The Mariners averaged 8,926 fans per spring training game last year, though this game was technically a home game for their training complex co-tenants.Hernandez leaves Sunday with Seattle teammate Carlos Silva for Venezuela's training in Orlando, Fla. He said he's honored to be his country's ace in the WBC, by default."(Johan) Santana's not going to pitch. Neither is (Carlos) Zambrano -- yeah, it's exciting," Hernandez said.Padres starter Chris Young pitched a perfect first inning and warmed up longer than he actually pitched, just as ace Jake Peavy had against Seattle on Wednesday. The No. 2 man in San Diego's rotation, known for pitching high in the strike zone, said he was pleased with how low he kept his fastball.He wasn't exactly impressed with such a short outing so early in camp."It's hard in one inning to say, 'I accomplished this' or 'I accomplished that," Young said. "It's a start. I don't take it for anymore than that."
Ken Griffey Jr. did not play again. Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said his 39-year-old star likely won't appear in his first spring game for the Mariners in 10 years until Wednesday night against Australia's national team. Griffey was icing his left knee after morning workouts and said "It's getting better." He had arthroscopic surgery on it in October. ... Blanco, 38, had two hits in his first game since arriving late to Padres camp last week because of family issues in Venezuela. ... Former Tiger and Ranger Chris Shelton, a non-roster veteran trying to make Seattle's roster as a first baseman, hit a fly ball that carried and carried in the desert wind for a home run in the three-run second off LHP Justin Hampson.