Felix improves in second winter league start

Felix improves in second winter league start

SEATTLE -- After his second Venezuelan Winter League start was delayed a day because of illness, Mariners ace Felix Hernandez rebounded with a four-inning outing in which he allowed two runs for Magallanes in Thursday's 4-1 loss to Caribes.

Hernandez gave up both runs on three hits and a walk in the first inning, then was perfect over his final three frames, throwing 63 pitches. The effort was a big improvement from the 30-year-old's Venezuelan debut a week earlier when he gave up two runs on two hits and two walks in one inning.

The 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner is pitching in the Venezuelan League for the first time since 2003, when he was 17 years old, as he looks to build up his arm in preparation for the World Baseball Classic in March.

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Hernandez's hometown Magallanes club missed the playoffs as it finished its regular season with a 29-34 record. It's not known if the right-hander will hook on with another team for the postseason in order to continue with his plan of pitching in five or six winter league games before playing for Venezuela in the WBC.

Hernandez again threw to Mariners teammate Jesus Sucre, who went 0-for-3 with a walk and is hitting .233 in 40 games as Magallanes' catcher.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.