PEORIA, Ariz. -- Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez took the mound for the first time for live batting practice Thursday, though the five batters he faced were ordered not to swing and just tracked the ball while he threw about 35 pitches.
Hernandez is on a slightly slower process than most of the pitching staff, along with Jason Vargas, as the Mariners attempt to ease his workload.
"It felt good," Hernandez said. "Not bad for the first time since last season. Nothing different."
The animated Hernandez gave a little hop after throwing his last pitch, clearly feeling ready to compete. But there wasn't much competition on this day as Chone Figgins, Brendan Ryan, Dustin Ackley, Greg Halman and Carlos Peguero all just stood in the box and watched his pitches sail past.
"That part is boring," Hernandez said. "And it's our team, so it's way different."
Hernandez will throw an actual live batting practice session Saturday, then a simulated game next week before getting his first Cactus League action.
"We're just slow-playing him a little bit to where he doesn't up the ante too early," Wedge said.
One guy who did get the full dose of Hernandez on Thursday was catcher Miguel Olivo, who had to deal with the assortment of nasty pitches the 24-year-old likes to unleash.
"He caught me before," Hernandez said, "But I was a little younger then. I didn't have a slider or the good sinker."
At one point Thursday, Olivo unleashed a loud expletive after Hernandez handcuffed him. What was that pitch?
"Sinker," Hernandez said with a devilish chuckle.