Mariners ace Felix Hernandez is expected to start spring training as usual this week despite reports Sunday that an elbow issue had delayed his finalizing a contract extension. The issue was said to have surfaced last week when Hernandez reportedly took a physical ahead of the extension being signed off on. Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik declined to comment when asked Sunday about Hernandez possibly having failed his physical, but said the pitcher will be at the team's Peoria, Ariz., training facility on Tuesday as scheduled. "Oh yeah, he'll be there," Zduriencik said. Zduriencik added that there is nothing medically preventing Hernandez from taking part in on-field workouts with teammates. He noted that pitchers and catchers are due to take physicals Tuesday, then have their first workout Wednesday and that Hernandez would be going along with the group as usual. As for the state of Hernandez's elbow, Zduriencik would not comment further. "I'm just not going to comment on that while negotiations are ongoing," Zduriencik said. "That's our policy. We don't comment on any of that stuff." Rumors about a problem with Hernandez's physical began percolating on Saturday morning, after the Mariners failed to officially announce a contract extension that had been agreed to two days earlier. Hernandez had also let it be known Friday that he was pulling out of the World Baseball Classic for what he said were family reasons, not a medical issue. Hernandez's agent declined to return calls or text messages on Saturday asking whether the pitcher had failed his physical. Then, on Sunday, ESPN columnist Buster Olney quoted a source saying that concerns over Hernandez's elbow could impact the extension talks. Bob Nightengale of USA Today — who had broken the initial news Thursday about the extension — followed Sunday by saying the pitcher had been made aware that a problem with his elbow was discovered during the physical. Nightengale later wrote that both sides are trying to work beyond the elbow issue and reach a deal.
Reported elbow issue stalls Felix Hernandez's contract extension
Seattle Times | Feb 11