Felix to start Wednesday, plus other news from camp

FelixMarch4Felix Hernandez will make his Cactus League debut on Wednesday when the Mariners host the Rockies in a 12:05 p.m. PT game at Peoria Stadium.

Per his usual Spring Training routine, Hernandez will be the last of Seattle’s healthy pitchers to make his debut. The Mariners ace takes a slightly slower approach than most in spring due to the heavy workload he accumulates during the regular season. The 28-year-old is the only active pitcher in the Majors to have totaled 200-plus innings and 200-plus strikeouts for each of the last six seasons.

Hernandez will then be on line for four more spring starts before making his club-record eighth Opening Day start on April 6 against the Angels at Safeco Field. The Angels have already announced Jered Weaver will be their Opening Day starter in the 1:10 p.m. PT contest.

Manager Lloyd McClendon also said Friday that closer Fernando Rodney is slated for his Cactus League debut on Sunday when the Mariners travel to Goodyear to face the Reds.

“They’re both well ahead of schedule,” McClendon said.

In other Friday news:

— Left-hander James Paxton threw his first bullpen session of the spring on Friday as he returns from a bruised forearm suffered when he fell doing agility drills prior to the start of camp. Paxton threw 30 pitches — all fastballs — and said everything felt fine. He’ll throw another bullpen in a few days before facing live batters.

— Edgar Olmos was in camp with the Mariners for the first time Friday after the Rangers reversed their waiver claim on the southpaw reliever due to health issues, but isn’t ready to begin throwing yet. Tests on Friday showed inflammation in the 24-year-old’s left shoulder and it remains to be seen when he’ll be able to start a throwing program. Because Major League Baseball voided the Rangers’ waiver claim, Olmos was automatically returned to Seattle’s 40-man roster.

— Outfielder Franklin Gutierrez will play back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday as the Mariners look to see if he’s ready to return following a year off due to health issues.

We need to find out what he’s capable of doing,” McClendon said. “He actually looks pretty good. He’s moving around pretty good, swinging the bat well. We all know he’s a very talented young man. His biggest problem is just staying on the field and we need to find out if he can do that.”

— Kyle Seager said he’s been overwhelmed by the early response to his efforts with the Vs. Cancer charity fundraiser in conjunction with former North Carolina teammate Chase Jones. Seager has promised to match the donations of the first 100 pledges and said the initial goal of $30,000 was almost met after just three days.

“It’s been exploding way faster than we could have even hoped for,” he said. “That’s a testament to the fans we have and just how loyal they are. It’s not just about baseball. They’re just good people.”

To make a pledge, fans can go to the foundation’s website at Seagervscancer.org.

— Rickie Weeks makes his left-field debut today against the Dodgers in the 12:05 p.m. PT game at Camelback Ranch in Glendale nd Willie Bloomquist will play the first several innings as well as he returns from knee surgery. Here’s the full lineups:

LineupMarch5

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