Felix says he’s ready after simulated game

Felix Hernandez continued his slower build-up in Spring Training by throwing 33 pitches in a simulated game on the Mariners main practice field in Peoria on Thursday morning, then pronounced himself ready and eager to get going.

Hernandez threw to an assortment of Minor League hitters in informal setting in which he recorded five strikeouts while getting eight outs, while allowing one ball that likely would have been a bloop single if defenders were actually in place.

“It’s been awhile,” Hernandez said. “I felt great.”

Hernandez will make his Cactus League debut on Monday, throwing three innings against Oakland.

“I’m ready,” he said. “I’m feeling so good, man. I was throwing strikes, the ball was in the bottom of the zone, the breaking ball was good, the changeup was alright. Everything looked good.”

Can he be better after last year’s Cy Young season?

“I think can be better. Why not,” he said. “You have to get better every year. We’ll see.”

One tall guy took in Hernandez’s throwing session Thursday. Randy Johnson was in camp to visit with trainer Rick Griffin, his good friend. The Big Unit spoke to Hernandez before he went out on the field.

“He told me I needed four more Cy Youngs,” Hernandez said. “And four thousand strikeouts just to get him.”

And Felix’s response?

“I told him, I’ll be there. Don’t worry,” Hernandez said with a laugh.

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