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"Balky Elbow" Making Felix Feel Less Than King

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Stephen Brashear

First of all, Opening Night is 50 days away so it's highly premature to think that Felix Hernandez will be anything but "fully ready and on the mound" against the A's come April 1st. However, in a "If he didn't have bad timing, he wouldn't have timing at all" development, some elbow concerns are cropping up as the Seattle Mariners and Hernandez try to put the finishing touches on a record $175M contract.

Honestly, I wouldn't offer any pitcher with a "possibly balky elbow" $175M. (Unless "balky elbow" just meant that his elbow tended to twitch and get called for balks.) Given that every pitcher is, arguably, one slider away from having a balky elbow, you can make a really, really, really, really excellent case against signing $175M contracts with any pitcher. But when you know some concerns have already surfaced? Not even the King would get that kind of consideration from me.

I actually hope, strongly, that Hernandez is ok physically. Yes it means the A's have an uphill climb on Opening Night but Hernandez is a special talent (can you believe that he is only 26?), who is good for baseball and who plays on a team I happen not to have anything against. But elbows are nothing to trifle with (neither is ending a sentence or phrase with a preposition, which I have now done twice in a row), and the Mariners would be remiss not to be quite concerned.

Stay tuned...