Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Felix Hernandez arrived for Seattle Mariners spring training on Tuesday already ahead in his offseason preparation from previous years.

It's the result of the World Baseball Classic and his determination to prove last year's struggles were an anomaly.

"I've got to prove people wrong," Hernandez said after taking his physical with the Mariners. "I feel fine. I'm healthy. That's the main thing."

How Hernandez approached the offseason was one of Seattle's big questions after watching its ace have a rocky 2016 season that included a lengthy stint on the disabled list due to a leg injury. Hernandez was 11-8 with a 3.82 ERA in 25 starts last season. It was the fewest starts in a full season in his career and his ERA was its highest since 2007. He walked more batters, struck out fewer and was prone to giving up the long ball.

It was unlike the Hernandez most have come to expect, which made how he would respond one of the big topics that could ultimately determine how good Seattle is in 2017.

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