Felix Hernandez makes his rehabilitation start for the Rainiers tonight at Cheney Stadium. He has been on the disabled list with a strained right calf muscle since his last start for Seattle, on May 27 against the Twins.
Hernandez is supposed to throw roughly five innings today, and somewhere around 75 or 80 pitches. In his first rehab start for Everett, he went 3.2 innings and 69 pitches.
This will be Felix’s first appearance at Cheney Stadium since July 30, 2005 – his last Triple-A game, when he was just 19 years old and the top pitching prospect in the minor leagues. So let’s turn back the clock for some Felix Fun Facts, Rainiers-style.
- Felix was 18 years old when he made the Rainiers opening day roster in 2005. His Triple-A debut came on his 19th birthday – April 8th, at Fresno, six innings without allowing an earned run.
- He earned his first Triple-A win five days later with five scoreless innings at Sacramento.
- Felix lost his Cheney Stadium debut, on April 19 when he faced Sacramento again.
- Then he won four straight starts.
- Felix made 19 appearances for Tacoma – 14 starts – and went 9-4 with a 2.25 ERA. In 88 innings he had 100 strikeouts with 48 walks, and he gave up 62 hits with only three home runs.
- In his final Triple-A game, Felix pitched four no-hit, shutout innings against the Omaha Royals on July 30. He struck out the side in his last inning. He got the news he was going to the big leagues two days later.
- The Rainiers lineup in Felix’s last game: Shin-Soo Choo, Chris Snelling, Abraham Nunez, Greg Dobbs, Justin Leone, Aaron Rifkin, Jose Lopez, Ryan Christianson, and Ramon Santiago.
- That was a really good Tacoma team, which reached the PCL Championship Series but lost to Nelson Cruz and the Nashville Sounds. Felix was in the big leagues when that happened.
- He faced tonight’s opponent Colorado Springs one time in 2005 – and I’m guessing he may remember that game. It was in Colorado Springs on April 25. Felix warmed up in the bullpen, walked into the dugout, and watched the Rainiers score nine runs in the top of the first inning before he threw his first pitch. He pitched five innings and left with a 19-1 lead – the Rainiers won the game, 21-7.
Eleven years later, Felix returns to Tacoma. A lot has changed, with the stadium renovation and the Rainiers use a different logo now. Hopefully he has a fun – and healthy! – night at Cheney Stadium.
Yesterday: The Rainiers looked fresh coming out of the all-star break, as Cody Martin delivered six strong innings in a 3-1 win over Colorado Springs. Martin tied his season high by recording nine strikeouts. Both Ryan Strausborger and Guillermo Heredia hit their first home runs as a member of the Rainiers.
Today: Colorado Springs (44-44-1) at Tacoma (50-40-1), 7:05.
Opponent Affiliation: Milwaukee Brewers.
Season Series: Tacoma leads, 1-0.
Starting Pitchers: RHP Wily Peralta (0-2, 9.17) at RHP Felix Hernandez (-).
Peralta was the Brewers opening day starter this year, and now he’s in Triple-A.
Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero has a ten-game hitting streak, and he has gone 23-for-60 over his last 14 games (he should return to the lineup tonight)… Luis Sardinas has a seven-game hitting streak, going 10-for-28… Guillermo Heredia has hit safely in 13 of 16 games since joining the Rainiers.
Look Out For: Orlando Arcia is a 21-year-old shortstop who is considered a top prospect in the Brewers organization. He’s known for his defense… catcher/first baseman Josmil Pinto went 0-for-3 last night, ending his 14-game hitting streak. It was just the second hitless game he has had in his last 26 outings.
Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.
PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.
- The Rainiers game story also previews Felix’s start tonight.
- The next two weeks will determine if the Mariners are trade deadline buyers or sellers, Ryan Divish writes.
PCL Game Reports:
- Fresno’s Alex Bregman returned to Louisiana and helped the Grizzlies to a 6-2 win over New Orleans.
- Reno rode a strong start by Zack Godley to a 4-2 victory over Oklahoma City.
- Round Rock outlasted Sacramento in 12 innings, 6-5. They won it on a walk-off walk.
- Iowa lost to Las Vegas, 3-2, but Joe Nathan pitched a perfect inning of relief in his bid to return to the major leagues.
- Nashville pillaged the Chihuahuas, 13-3. Nashville is 16-1 against Pacific Conference opponents this season.
- David Dahl hit two of Albuquerque’s five homers, and Tom Murphy hit for the cycle in a 12-8 win over Memphis.
- Salt Lake’s Tyler Skaggs struck out 14 Omaha Storm Chasers in a 2-0 win last night, and he appears to be fully recovered from Tommy John surgery.
This is going to be a fun one tonight!