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Hernandez set for spring debut for Mariners

By Associated Press

Seattle right-hander Felix Hernandez will make his Cactus League debut Thursday against Kansas City.

Hernandez hasn’t pitched in a game since he helped Venezuela beat Puerto Rico 2-0 on March 16 to advance to the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic.

The 22-year-old threw 86 pitches in 42/3 innings, raising a few eyebrows in the M’s organization.

But Hernandez erased any concerns about his health Monday, throwing 51 pitches in a bullpen session without any difficulties.

“I felt good; no problems,” a smiling Hernandez said afterward.

He, right-hander Carlos Silva, second baseman Jose Lopez and outfielder Endy Chavez rejoined Seattle two days after Venezuela was eliminated from the WBC.

Lopez and Chavez were in Seattle’s lineup Monday in a 5-1 win over San Francisco in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The Mariners weren’t fazed by San Francisco’s 1-2 pitching punch, scoring two runs off Giants starter Randy Johnson and three more off designated reliever Tim Lincecum.

Seattle rookie Chris Jakubauskas, making a strong bid for spot on the major league roster, gave up one run and three hits in five innings. He has a 2.16 ERA in 162/3 innings.

Wladimir Balentien hit his third homer of the spring off Johnson.

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