Felix excited to be part of new-look Mariners

Ace takes another step toward 2015 season with first live BP session

Felix excited to be part of new-look Mariners

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Felix Hernandez remains the face of the Mariners, as evidenced by a large camera crew from Major League Baseball that followed his every move on Wednesday shooting video for an upcoming 30-second promotional spot.

But Seattle's ace isn't all on his own any more as the club has beefed up its roster with some noticeable veteran presence.

"It feels a little different. A lot of different," Hernandez said. "We've improved our offense. We're bringing in Nelson Cruz and veteran hitters with guys like [Robinson] Cano, [Kyle] Seager and all those guys. It feels different. The clubhouse feels nice, it feels fun and we want to win. That's what we're here for."

Hernandez took another step in his own preparation for the 2015 season with his first live batting practice session on Wednesday morning, throwing to four Minor Leaguers on one of the Mariners' back fields at their Peoria complex.

Hernandez will have one more similar outing -- either an extended bullpen session or another live BP -- before making his Cactus League debut likely sometime next week.

Facing one of the game's premier hurlers, none of the four Minor Leaguers -- Jabari Blash, Ian Miller, Austin Cousino or Tyler Smith -- made solid contact in the approximately 30-pitch session. But Hernandez was working mostly on location in his first time facing hitters in the box.

"Fastball command," he said. "Trying to throw all my breaking balls and see if they still worked. They felt pretty good. This is more intensity right here, trying to face hitters and see how my arm reacts. I felt pretty good."

In other Wednesday news:

• After throwing his first live BP on Tuesday, Danny Hultzen could see his first game action later this week as he returns from a year-long rehab from shoulder surgery.

• Left-hander James Paxton played long toss on Tuesday without any problems. He took Wednesday off, will throw on flat ground again on Thursday and is scheduled for his first bullpen session on Friday as he returns from a bruised forearm that has sidelined him since just prior to the start of camp.

• The Rangers are returning lefty reliever Edgar Olmos to the Mariners after claiming him off waivers last week. Olmos has had a shoulder impingement and he hasn't been able to throw since joining Texas. The Mariners acquired Olmos off waivers from the Marlins in December, but Texas picked him up after Seattle dropped him from its 40-man roster just prior to camp.

• Single-game tickets for the Mariners go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. PT on Saturday.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.