Seattle Mariners phenom Felix Hernandez looks to regain his command when he makes his second start since missing nearly a month in Sunday’s finale of a three-game interleague series against the San Diego Padres.
Hernandez (2-1, 2.57 ERA) was on the disabled list due to a forearm strain, and it showed as he was rusty in an 11-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday. He was limited to 78 pitches and allowed three runs, seven hits and three walks over 3 2-3 innings, not receiving a decision.
The 21-year-old right-hander began the season with 17 scoreless innings before getting hurt in the first inning of his third outing.
“I feel like I’ve been out a year,” Hernandez said. “I felt lost. I was not throwing strikes like I was used to.
“But I feel good. No problems. I’m glad to be back. … My first inning, I was worried. Then I just didn’t try to think about that (injury).”
The Mariners expect to allow him to throw more pitches Sunday.
Hernandez took advantage of some generous run support to go 3-1 with a 6.20 ERA in four interleague starts last year as the Mariners scored 10 runs twice in those outings. He beat the Padres in his lone career start against them on May 21, 2006, despite getting tagged for seven runs over six innings of a 10-8 win.
Seattle (19-19) ended a three-game slide with a 7-4 victory on Saturday. Jose Guillen homered and drove in four runs as the Mariners roughed up Greg Maddux for seven runs and 12 hits over 3 2-3 innings.
Ichiro Suzuki went 2-for-5 for his sixth straight multihit effort. The Mariners center fielder is batting .469 (23-for-49) with 10 runs scored over his last 11 games.
The Mariners’ 14-hit outburst on Saturday came without slugger Richie Sexson, who had the night off due to a 0-for-15 slump. Sexson struck out three times while going hitless in four at-bats in Friday’s 8-1 loss.
“He’s off at least (Saturday),” manager Mike Hargrove said. “Then we’ll see where we’re at.”
San Diego (23-20) followed up its seven doubles in Friday’s 8-1 victory with three more Saturday, but stranded eight runners and was unable to overcome Maddux’s poor effort.
Justin Germano (1-0, 0.69) will pitch against Seattle for the first time. He did not receive a decision in his May 8 season debut, when he allowed one run over six innings of a 3-2 loss at Atlanta.
The right-hander was even better Sunday against St. Louis, yielding only three singles over seven outstanding innings in a 3-0 victory.
Germano, who made his major league debut with San Diego in 2004, and spent part of last season with Cincinnati, is determined to prove he belongs in this stint with the Padres.
“The biggest difference for me is I have a more aggressive attitude,” Germano said. “The other times up, I was a little timid, and that isn’t how I pitched in the minor leagues.”