Spring headlines: King Felix gets his contract; Clay Buchholz hurts himself already

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

It turns out that all of the talk about Felix Hernandez's elbow was much ado about nothing. At least as it pertains to his new $175 million deal.

The Seattle Mariners and their ace finalized the mammoth contract extension on Tuesday, ending a week's worth of worrying for Mariners fans who thought Hernandez's reported elbow problems could be the start of the King's downfall.

His elbows, both of them, looked quite comfy here. And we imagine Fernandez will continue to be that happy now that he's the owner of the biggest pitching contract in baseball, one that will play $25 million per year through 2019.

Here's a little more from Geoff Baker at the Seattle Times:

A news conference is to be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Safeco Field, at which time Hernandez, 26, his agents, Scott Pucino and Wil Polidor, and general manager Jack Zduriencik will give more details about the pact.

"I think it's a great thing for the Seattle Mariners, it's a great thing for Felix Hernandez, and we're looking forward to this guy being here for a long time, obviously," Zduriencik said

In other Seattle pitching news that was just as riveting, the Mariners also agreed to a one-year contract with 12-year vet Jon Garland.

Ouch: Sounds like somebody might need a Toradol shot soon. Pitcher Clay Buchholz hurt his hamstring on Tuesday, which is exactly what the Boston Red Sox needed at the start spring training. From Peter Abraham at The Boston Globe:

“It’s the best thing that it happened now and not when we’re getting ready to pitch in games,” Buchholz said. “As far as they told, it’s mild as it can be. For how I’m looking at it, get here early and do the treatment on it and hopefully I’m back in the next four or five days.”

John Farrell said Buchholz would be further evaluated on Wednesday and is day-to-day. He also described the strain as being mild.

“That’s the way it is sometimes,” Buchholz said. “It’s not the way I wanted it to start.”

The good news for BoSox fans: Buchholz isn't expected to miss a spring start.

Deny, Deny, Deny: At Washington Nationals camp on Tuesday, Gio Gonzalez made his first public comments since the Biogenesis scandal broke. His tune hasn't changed since his initial denial. This, from Adam Kilgore at The Washington Post:

“I feel very confident,” Gonzalez said in his first public comments, a group interview truncated by a team public relations official. “At the end of the day, I’ve never taken performance-enhancing drugs, and I never will. I’m actually pretty excited about this year.”

Gonzalez was his typical gregarious, grinning self as he met with reporters. He took less than five minutes of questioning about the case before the team official said he would not discuss the topic any further. Gonzalez held court for another 10 minutes, joking and expressing optimism about the Nationals’ chances in 2013.

Deny, deny, deny (Pt. 2): Another player implicated in the Biogenesis records, Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, also denied using PEDs. Further, he said he had never heard of clinic owner Anthony Bosch. Again from Geoff Baker at The Seattle Times:

“What can I tell you? I have no idea,” Montero said. “Like I said, I have no clue what happened. I feel like I’m caught in the middle of something and I don’t know why.”

Montero said he has never been a client of the clinic, or of owner Anthony Bosch.

“I don’t even know who he is,” he said. “I’ve never heard of him.”

Photo of the day: Justin Verlander must be taking modeling tips from girlfriend Kate Upton. Behold how he works out but still looks like he's in a Tommy Hilfiger ad. Related: Big League Stew is now accepting Happy Justin Verlander memes.

Zero percent is better than nothing ... wait, no it's not: The New York Mets are evaluating their closer options after Frank Francisco says his injured elbow is at "zero percent." Couldn't even embellish a bit and say three percent, eh Frank? From Mike Puma at The New York Post:

Francisco, who underwent surgery in December to remove a bone spur from his right elbow, had been playing catch before the start of camp, but recently stopped after incurring swelling in the joint. When asked when he thought he would be 100 percent, Francisco said he's presently "at zero level."

Manager Terry Collins says Bobby Parnell is his man at the moment. But this is the Mets we're talking about, so anything could happen. Mr. Met could be closing by April for all we know.

Spring training wisdom: This piece of advice comes from Oakland Athletics pitcher Andrew Carignan:

Spring training is here. Stretch with us.
Follow @MikeOz and @bigleaguestew, on Twitter, along with the BLS Facebook page.

What to Read Next