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21-03-2019, 05:03 AM
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PEORIA http://www.brewersfanproshop.com/authent...aun-jersey , Ariz. (AP) — Every day for several years, Felix Hernandez has walked past large photos of himself and Randy Johnson — the Seattle Mariners‘ only Cy Young Award winners — in the hallway leading to the clubhouse of their spring training complex.King Felix will make those walks for perhaps the last time this year, with a bigger goal as motivation.“I know this is my final year, but I don’t think I am done,” the 33-year-old Hernandez said on Tuesday following Seattle’s first spring training workout. “I think I can do a lot of good things, and it is going to be a push for my Hall of Fame career. It means a lot. Now Edgar (Martinez) is in the Hall of Fame. We’ll see.”Hernandez, who has 168 victories and a career 3.34 ERA, is trying to reverse recent trends entering the final season of a seven-year contract that calls for a $27 million salary.His fastball average velocity dropped to a career-low 90.4 mph last season as calculated by Fangraphs, and his ERA was a career-high 5.55 in 29 outings. He briefly was moved to the bullpen for his lone career relief appearance, a move that did not sit well.But as spring training begins, Hernandez has a spot in the starting rotation, even if it is not as his customary No. 1.“I don’t care what happened last season Travis Shaw Jersey ,” he said. “This is a new year. I came here ready to go. Let’s see what is going to happen.”Yusei Kikuchi, Mike Leake and Marco Gonzales are the top three in the Mariners rotation, and left-hander Wade LeBlanc pitched well last season. Top prospect Justus Sheffield was acquired from the Yankees in the James Paxton deal, although he is likely to start the season in the minors.Hernandez will look to recover from a second half in which he was 0-7 with a 6.44 ERA in his last 10 appearances. His percentage of swinging strikes was at a career low, and opponents’ contact on pitches in the strike zone was a career high.“He’s struggled the last few years. We’ll see what it brings,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Felix is a competitor. He is a very proud player, like many veteran players are. He wants to get back to doing his thing. We are going to let him.”With a lower velocity has come adjustments. Hernandez began the subtle changes last season, when threw 27.9 percent curveballs, the highest percentage of curves in his career. The rate was double than it was when he was blowing hitters away with 96-98 mph velocity.“You have to keep adjusting until you are on the top, and certainly Felix has been on top before,” Servais said. “But the game does evolve and change, and you have to be open to it Paul Molitor Jersey , open to the information, open to game-planning, open to maybe adjusting your repertoire a little bit.”Hernandez has relied on a sinking fastball, and the noticeably higher strike zone in recent seasons could have played into Hernandez’s lack of success, new pitching coach Paul Davis said.“He’s always been more of a sinker guy, and so with the high strike zone, it doesn’t really play to what his strength was and what he was able to use,” Davis said. “And with diminished velocity, it just makes it a little more difficult. It doesn’t mean you can’t be successful.”Hernandez did not get into specifics on any changes he might make, saying, “I just want to do everything to make this ball club better.”Hernandez is one of a few veteran players back from a year ago when Seattle won 89 games. All-Stars Robinson Cano, Jean Segura http://www.brewersfanproshop.com/authent...unt-jersey , Edwin Diaz and Paxton were traded, as was catcher Mike Zunino. Nelson Cruz left as a free agent.“That was a crazy offseason,” Hernandez said.It has been called a step-back season for the Mariners, but Hernandez remains upbeat as he enters his 13th season.“I know it is going to be tough, but there is a lot of talent in that clubhouse,” he said. The Toronto Blue Jays announced Tuesday that they've released veteran shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, thus making the 34-year-old a free agent.ROSTER MOVE: We've released SS Troy Tulowitzki, making him a free agent.— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) December 11, 2018Tulowitzki missed the entire season with bone spurs in his right ankle, and he was limited to 66 games the year prior because of a high ankle sprain. The Blue Jays decided it was time to cut ties with 'Tulo' and start rolling with their younger players for the 2019 season.As Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports points out, the Blue Jays still owe Tulowitzki $38 million, making the release a little surprising. But the former Gold Glover admitted that he wouldn't want to stay in Toronto if they asked him to play a different position next season.advertisingThe Blue Jays acquired Tulowitzki from the Colorado Rockies in a blockbuster deal before the 2015 trade deadline. He was instrumental in helping Toronto end its 22-year playoff drought Matt Garza Jersey , and Tulowitzki guided the franchise to consecutive ALCS appearances in 2015 and '16. Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsBut with top prospects in Danny Jansen, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. ready to take over, the Jays have decided聽it was time to start building towards the future.Veteran Yangervis Solarte was released earlier this winter, while utility man Aledmys Diaz was traded to the Houston Astros for minor league pitcher Trent Thornton. Releasing Tulowitzki is just one of the many house-cleaning moves by the Toronto front office.advertisingWhat This MeansIf the Blue Jays were in position to contend, they would have likely kept Tulowitzki. But he's ageing, injury prone and well past his playing prime. And with so many young infielders to work with, the Blue Jays made the right call in deciding to more out another veteran.Tulowitzki's tenure in Toronto didn't last very long, but fans will surely remember him as the guy that helped them reach the ALCS twice. He will also be cheap in free agency, so Tulowitzki shouldn't have to wait long to find a new home.
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