Rick Osentoski, USA Today

Seattle Mariners Notes: Felix Hernandez Looks Better in his Second Rehab Assignment with Triple-A Tacoma

Hardball Scoop's Jamey Vinnick had a chance to talk to Mariners starter Felix Hernandez after his second rehab assignment in Tacoma on Sunday afternoon.

After getting hit around in his first rehab start, Felix Hernandez calmed down nicely in start number two, looking much more comfortable on the mound and pitching far better against the Las Vegas 51's.

Hernandez threw 64 pitches, going five innings, while giving up one hit and one earned run, walking one and striking out five. His control looked great through the first four, but it appeared he started to tire and lose a little command in the fifth, which is when the hit, walk and run all occurred. Hernandez said he felt good and felt more in his element in start number two.

"I thought it went terrific," Hernandez said. "I had better mechanics, better rhythm and thought the ball came out nicely out of my hand. I definitely felt better today too just from there being a little more time. Last time I couldn't really find myself but today it was different, I had good command on my fastball and the rest of my pitches and it worked. I thought my command was good and it felt a lot better than the last time."

When asked about where he would go next, Hernandez said he wasn't totally sure yet.

"We'll see what they think," he added. "I think I'm ready to go and get back and help the team but we'll say what they say. I'm going to travel with the team and hopefully I'll be able to pitch in the weekend series against Texas."

His performance certainly looked more like the Felix Hernandez Mariners fans had grown to love. The king went 14 up and 14 down against Las Vegas, striking out five of them and getting a little help on sparkling plays in the field by Boog Powell and Ryan Jackson. He didn't allow a base runner until he walked Desmond Jennings in the top of the fifth who then scored on a Jayce Boyd run-scoring double.  Hernandez also looked good in the field, snaring a liner off the bat of Gavin Cecchini, and cleanly fielding a ground ball by Boyd and throwing him out.

The expectation from here is that Felix will make one more rehab start next week before rejoining the Mariners although from what Felix says, that may not be the case. If Felix does make one more rehab start, it's undetermined whether he will pitch one more in Tacoma or go to Everett in Short Season who's season starts next Thursday. Regardless of the rehab start or not, Mariner fans should expect to see their ace back in Seattle sometime within the next two weeks.

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