Video of six of the most important Mariners' pitchers throwing off the mound for the first time in spring training.
PEORIA, Ariz. — It was big day of bullpen sessions for the Mariners on Thursday. The entire projected starting rotation of Felix Hernandez, James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma, Drew Smyly and Yovani Gallardo all threw their first official bullpen sessions of the spring. Closer Edwin Diaz also threw his bullpen as well.
The grouping of those pitchers and timing is for a reason. Hernandez, Gallardo and Diaz are all going to pitch in the World Baseball Classic, while Smyly is part of designated pitching pool for Team USA, meaning he could be added to the roster if the team makes it out of pool play.
All eyes were on Hernandez as he stepped to the mound. The Mariners’ ace came into camp stronger from offseason work and motivated from a disappointing 2016 season.
Hernandez looked ultra-focused in his session, throwing to veteran catcher Carlos Ruiz while pitching coach Mel Stotttlemyre and general manager Jerry Dipoto watched closely nearby. Normally in some of his early bullpen sessions, Hernandez can get distracted by fans and onlookers. He was all business in his first time on the mound.
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“I gotta be focused,” he said. “I’ve got to get ready early for WBC and for the season.”
Hernandez threw 27 pitches and worked on all of his pitches.
“It felt good,” he said. “I liked throwing to Chooch (Ruiz). He’s a good receiver.”