Rookie Jesus Sucre enjoys catching Felix Hernandez for first time this season
The backup catcher, who caught Hernandez twice last season, said Hernandez’s changeup is even better. Sucre also had an RBI single Saturday night.
Seattle Times staff reporter
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Felix Hernandez had a catcher other than Mike Zunino for the first time this season on Saturday night.
So how did rookie backup Jesus Sucre fare behind the plate?
“He did pretty good,” Hernandez said.
This wasn’t the first time Sucre had caught the Mariners ace. During his brief eight-game stint in the big leagues last season, Sucre caught two of Hernandez’s starts. But that experience offered little help. Sucre noticed it during warmups.
“It’s different this year,” he said. “His changeup is even better. It’s moving more. Hitters were talking to me. They’re like: ‘Wow, that ball is moving everywhere. What is that?’ ”
Not known for his bat, Sucre also had a big RBI single in the game, though he didn’t really want to talk about it much.
“It was good,” he said. “But my job is defense and to work with pitchers. I just want to do a good job behind the plate. That’s why I’m here — defense and my arm.”
Speaking of arm, his favorite moment of the 12-inning win was throwing out Josh Hamilton on a steal attempt late in the game by three steps. Sucre’s cannon for a throwing arm and quick release were on full display. He even blew on his fingertips like they were a smoking gun as he headed back to the dugout.
“I was just having fun,” he said. “I love throwing guys out. So I do that sometimes.”
Dings and dents
After playing 28 innings in two days, Robinson Cano was out of the lineup on Sunday. The reason?
“Tightness and soreness in his legs,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He asked me for a day.”
While it hasn’t kept him out of games, Cano has been bothered by a tight hamstring for extended periods this the season. The Mariners have been proactive in treating it.
McClendon expects Cano to be back in the lineup on Monday at Safeco Field.
The 28 innings have taken a toll on the bullpen. Both Danny Farquhar and Tom Wilhelmsen weren’t available to pitch on Sunday. Wilhelmsen needed more than a day to recover from throwing a season-high four innings in Friday night’s loss. Farquhar pitched two innings on Friday. He’s had some soreness in his throwing elbow. It’s something that comes up from time to time during the season.
“If they needed me to pitch, I could do it,” Farquhar said. “But they are giving me a day off, and I’m not going to argue with them. It will help.”
McClendon was aware of Farquhar’s willingness to pitch.
“I could probably use him, if I wanted to,” he said. “But I’m going to do everything I can to stay away from (using) him.”