PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) – Felix Hernandez doesn’t think he could have changed the mind of Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais about opening day, even by pitching well this spring.
With his ERA approaching 16, it’s a moot point.
King Felix is royally agitated anyway.
Hernandez was tagged for seven runs in three-plus innings against the Cleveland Indians on Sunday, raising his spring ERA to 15.95 a day after Servais announced that Marco Gonzales would start Seattle’s season opener against Oakland in Tokyo on March 20.
Seattle’s decision ends Hernandez’s run of 10 consecutive opening day starts.
Hernandez spoke publicly after the game for the first time since Servais’ announcement. Asked if he was upset, Hernandez said simply, “Yeah,” but declined to elaborate on his emotions.
“I knew it was going to happen,” he added.
Hernandez was also asked if he could have convinced Servais to give him the opening day nod with a better spring camp.
“No,” he said while shaking his head.
The 32-year-old has been losing fastball velocity since his mid-20s and been mostly hobbled and ineffective since turning 30.
The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner had a career-worst 5.55 ERA in 29 games last season and was briefly removed from the rotation for the first time in the majors. This is his final season of a $175 million, seven-year contract.
The Mariners have asked Hernandez to use his curveball more this spring, especially early in counts, because data suggests it’s the right-hander’s most effective pitch. Hernandez used the breaking ball often during a 1-2-3 first inning but got away from it as the game wore on.
“He needs to continue to work that in,” Servais said. “It’s one of his best pitches. Didn’t go to it today.”
AROUND THE GRAPEFRUIT AND CACTUS LEAGUES
INDIANS 16, MARINERS (SS) 2
Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run double and Ryan Flaherty homered for Cleveland. Carlos Carrasco made his first start, pitching three innings and giving up two runs and striking out four.
Jay Bruce and Ryon Healy homered for Seattle.
BLUE JAYS 10, TWINS 1
Prized Toronto prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will miss three weeks with a strained left oblique muscle. The third baseman was injured during his final at-bat Friday. Guerrero, who turns 20 this week, was a hitting machine in the minors last year.
Bo Bichette homered twice and doubled for the Blue Jays. Rowdy Tellez also homered twice and Craig Biggio homered and singled. Ryan Borucki made his fourth start, pitching five shutout innings.
Minnesota starter Jake Odorizzi gave up five runs on four hits and two walks while getting just two outs.
METS 9, CARDINALS 1
Amed Rosario connected for a three-run homer in his first at-bat for New York since being hit in the left hand by a pitch on Monday. Jeff McNeil and Travis d’Arnaud also homered and Robinson Cano had two hits. Steven Matz pitched four shutout innings in his third start.
Dylan Carlson homered off Mets closer Edwin Diaz.
YANKEES (SS) 6, PIRATES 5
Jung Ho Kang hit his fourth home run this spring for Pittsburgh and Francisco Cervelli his first. Chris Archer struck out four in three shutout innings.
New York starter J.A. Happ struck out six, but also gave up three runs in four innings. Dellin Betances retired just one batter, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks.
YANKEES (SS) 2, TIGERS 2, 9 INNINGS
Miguel Cabrera hit his second spring homer and Detroit starter Matt Moore pitched four shutout innings, striking out six.
Miguel Andujar doubled and singled for New York.
NATIONALS 6, ASTROS 4
Jeremy Hellickson pitched four shutout innings for Washington. Luis Garcia had three singles.
George Springer went 0 for 3 and is batting .182 for Houston. Wade Miley made his second start, pitching 3 2/3 innings.
PHILLIES 8, ORIOLES 5
Philadelphia starter Aaron Nola gave up three runs in three innings and struck out six. Joey Rickard doubled and singled for Baltimore.
RAYS 8, RED SOX 1
Mike Zunino homered and doubled for Tampa Bay. Guillermo Heredia hit two solo home runs and Joey Wendle and Avisail Garcia each connected.
Rick Porcello made his first start for Boston, pitching three innings and allowing two runs and four hits.
MARLINS 5, BRAVES 2
Pete O’Brien hit a grand slam and RBI single. Miami starter Sandy Alcantara threw 4 1/3 shutout innings.
Julio Teheran made his first start for Atlanta, striking out six in four innings and allowing one run.
MARINERS (SS) 9, ANGELS 9, 9 INNINGS
Mike Trout and Tommy La Stella doubled for Los Angeles. Mike Leake made his fourth start for Seattle, pitching 4 2/3 innings and allowing two runs and seven hits.
PADRES 11, ROYALS 6
Jose Pirela hit two home runs and singled, raising his average to .407 for San Diego.
Cam Gallagher, Adalberto Mondesi and Whit Merrifield homered for Kansas City.
ATHLETICS (SS) 7, WHITE SOX 6
Dustin Fowler had three hits and Josh Phegley homered for Oakland’s split squad.
Yoan Moncada homered for Chicago. Lucas Giolito struggled in his third start, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings.
ATHLETICS (SS) 5, GIANTS (SS) 4
Highly regarded prospect Jesus Luzardo made his second start for an Oakland split squad. The lefty allowed one run while striking out five in four innings. Chad Pinder hit his spring-leading sixth and seventh doubles.
Aramis Garcia homered and tripled for San Francisco’s split squad.
RANGERS 7, GIANTS (SS) 6
Hunter Pence homered and singled twice for Texas against his former team. Drew Smyly made his third start, allowing one run in 2 1/3 innings.
Jeff Samardzija made his third start for San Francisco’s split squad, pitching 3 2/3 innings and giving up one run.
DIAMONDBACKS (SS) 3, REDS 2
Caleb Joseph homered and Yasmany Tomas had two hits for Arizona. Merrill Kelly didn’t allow a hit in four scoreless innings, striking out four.
Tanner Roark made his fourth start for Cincinnati, pitching four innings and allowing three runs while striking out six.
BREWERS 7, CUBS 5
Orlando Arcia, Ben Gamel and Tyler Saladino homered for Milwaukee.
Kyle Hendricks pitched three innings in his third start for Chicago, allowing three runs.
DODGERS 3, ROCKIES (SS) 1
Justin Turner and Max Muncy doubled for Los Angeles. Chad Bettis gave up one hit in his fourth start for Colorado’s split squad, pitching four innings and striking out five. Mark Reynolds hit his second home run.
DIAMONDBACKS (SS) 5, ROCKIES 2
Eduardo Escobar hit a pair of RBI doubles for Arizona’s split squad. Tyler Anderson made his first start for Colorado, giving up seven hits in four innings.