Now Commenting On:

Felix throws four frames in Minors game

Felix throws four frames in Minors game play video for Felix throws four frames in Minors game

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Felix Hernandez threw four innings of one-run ball on Sunday against a Class A Minor League team from the Reds as the Mariners ace continued working toward Opening Day.

Hernandez pitched in the Minor League game at the Peoria Sports Complex rather than face the division-rival Rangers in the Cactus League contest being played at the same time at Peoria Stadium.

Manager Eric Wedge said he also wanted to use the Cactus League game to better evaluate pitchers competing for the final rotation berths, though the Rangers wound up bringing a split-squad lineup that only included one starter in designated hitter Lance Berkman.

Hernandez surrendered one run and one hit while plunking a batter in the first inning, but finished up his day smoothly, tossing 62 pitches total.

"The first inning was a little rough," Hernandez said. "I threw a lot of pitches, got behind in the count, but after that I was good."

The 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner said he wasn't worried about facing young Minor Leaguers as part of his tune-up process.

"These guys are pretty good," he said. "They swing the bat a lot. You've just got to make good pitches. I don't think it's a different mentality. I just throw my pitches. But they're way more aggressive than big leaguers. They swing at everything."

Hernandez has two more starts scheduled before the regular-season opener on April 1 at Oakland. Assuming he stays on plan, he'll face the Padres March 22 and the Dodgers March 27, with both games at Peoria Stadium.

"I'm progressing a lot," he said. "I feel stronger and stronger. I'll be ready for Opening Day."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español