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.