Greinke, King Felix Throw Well in Final Spring Tuneups

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Felix Hernandez figures the end of spring training will do him a world of good.

“I’m ready to go,” the Seattle Mariners ace said. “I need to get out of here. My allergies are killing me in Arizona. I’m ready for Monday. I’m ready for the Astros.”

Hernandez squared off with fellow Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke on Tuesday in the final spring tuneup for both. Greinke went four innings for the Arizona Diamondbacks in their 15-6 victory over Seattle. Hernandez gave up one run and left after 24 pitches, striking out four in two innings.

His next outing will be Monday at Houston in the season opener, Hernandez’s 10th opening day start.

“It’s an honor to be the opening day starter. I’ve done it a few times. I like the challenge. It’s still special,” he said. “It’s a new season. There’s a lot of eyes watching you; a lot of people watching me.”

Hernandez, who turns 31 on April 8, allowed only one hit Tuesday, a first-inning home run to Brandon Drury on a 1-2 elevated fastball.

“In Arizona the ball carries a lot, but it was a mistake,” Hernandez said. “I had a good curveball, good changeup, too. When my fastball is right there it makes everything even better.”

The Diamondbacks hit six home runs, including one each by regulars A.J. Pollock and Jake Lamb. Minor leaguer Marty Herum added a grand slam in the eighth.
Greinke yielded three runs and six hits without a strikeout or a walk. He threw 57 pitches, 41 for strikes.

The pitcher also singled and doubled in two at-bats.

“We thought about sending him out for the fifth, but decided that we’d send down to the bullpen to throw 13 more pitches,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “It’s a good day for him. As the outing went on, he was a little bit better with his fastball command and started to spot up his secondary stuff.”

Greinke will start Arizona’s season opener Sunday against the San Francisco Giants. He finished 2-0 with a 5.06 ERA in three Cactus League starts, allowing 13 hits with three walks and five strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings.

Greinke’s diminishing fastball velocity has been a concern. He was mostly clocked at 88-89 mph, with only three pitches exceeding 90 mph. He topped out at 90.4 mph.

The careers of Greinke and Hernandez have been running parallel for more than a decade.

Greinke won the 2009 AL Cy Young Award while pitching for Kansas City, with Hernandez the runner-up. The next year, Hernandez took the prize. Greinke was 20 when he made his big league debut in 2004. Hernandez was 19 when he broke into the majors the following year. Greinke has 155 big league victories, one more than Hernandez.

NOTES: Mariners reliever Shae Simmons will begin the season on the disabled list. The right-hander has not pitched since March 11, and an MRI on Monday detected a strained right forearm flexor muscle. Simmons missed the 2015 season after Tommy John surgery and threw only 6 2/3 innings last year with Atlanta.

The Diamondbacks added veteran pitchers Jorge De La Rosa and Tom Wilhelmsen to the major league roster. Both pitchers, who were signed to minor league contracts, were told they made the team.

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