Wedge isn’t worried about Felix’s velocity

Felix Hernandez is back on the mound for his third appearance of the season tonight. And while there has been considerable talk about his decreased velocity this spring, manager Eric Wedge says it’s a non-issue.

And, indeed, Hernandez was throwing 91-93 with his fastball in his last outing at Oakland,which isn’t much different than what he’s hit the last two years. Prior to that, the radar readings in Tokyo for his opener were in kilometers per hour, so take that for what you want.

As far as Wedge is concerned, it’s the same Felix as always.

“The velocity is right there,” Wedge said. “I know you’re trying to make something, but you’re talking about a guy who was still hitting 93 last time and that’s pretty much what he is. He’s a low 90- to mid-90s guy that pitches.

“Can he reach back to get more if he wants to, sure.  But he pitches, he uses all 5-6 of hjis pitches. He throws them where he wants to and when he wants to, which is as important as anything for him. I don’t have any worries in regard to that.”

Hernandez did struggle late in his last start, when he gave up six runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings in Oakland. So we’ll see if anything carries over. But from what I’ve seen of Hernandez this spring, he’s indeed been as sharp as ever and his velocity certainly has been good enough — in combination with his other pitches — to make him as tough as anybody in baseball when he’s on.

So we’ll keep an eye on things going forward, but people need to realize Hernandez hasn’t been a heat-throwing, upper-90s guys. He was mid-90s when he came to Seattle as a teenager, but in recent years he’s relied far more on his versatile arsenal than pure gas.


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