ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – One year later, Felix Hernandez can well remember the day he was perfect.
The Tampa Bay Rays won’t plan any special tribute to Hernandez on Thursday to mark the anniversary of the perfect game he threw against them at Safeco Field. Hernandez isn’t pitching in this series. His next start is Saturday against at Texas.
But his memories of that sunny day in Seattle are ever-present.
“It’s always on my mind,’’ he said. “I’m not going to forget that day.’’
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Hernandez said he’s always thinking about throwing a perfect game or no-hitter whenever he takes the mound.
He doesn’t think anything was particularly different last Aug. 15, other than feeling “pretty good” and things falling into place.
“Everybody was in the right position, it was the right day and I made the right pitches,’’ he said. “It was a perfect day.’’
Hernandez admitted he began thinking about a no-hitter around the fourth or fifth inning.
In hindsight, he figures his stuff that day was the best it could possibly be.
“I had my fastball working, the breaking ball was there and the changeup was good,’’ he said. “It was one of those days.’’
• Raul Ibanez took a seat Wednesday at Tampa Bay as the Mariners began a stretch of three games in four against left-handed starting pitchers. Interim manager Robby Thompson said he’s trying to get as much playing time as possible for his four regular outfielders in three spots – especially more time in center for Dustin Ackley, who manned the position a second straight night.
The Mariners want to see how Ackley evolves at the position so they can decide where he fits next season.
“Each and every day he’s going to find different balls that are hit out there,’’ Thompson said. “We talked about it earlier. About him charging balls to make up for maybe a lack of arm strength. Getting to the ball quicker and getting it to the cutoff man. Going into gaps on balls that are on the ground. And the more he’s out there, the more experience he’s going to get.’’
• All four of rookie Mariners shortstop Brad Miller’s home runs have come via two-homer games. He is only the third player since the divisional era began in 1969 to collect his first four career homers with a pair of two-homer games. The previous two were J.P. Arencibia of the Blue Jays in 2011 and Carlos May of the White Sox in 1969.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.