PEORIA, Ariz. -- Randy Johnson showed up in Mariners camp Thursday, a reminder that Felix Hernandez isn't yet the most accomplished pitcher to wear a Mariner uniform.
And a reminder that the Mariners don't always hold onto their most dominating pitchers.
But this isn't 1998, Hernandez isn't 34 years old, and for the moment I tend to believe the Mariners when they say they wouldn't even consider trading him this year.
"I can't prevent people from calling," general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "But Felix is going to be a Mariner."
What does Felix think of that?
"Good, man," Hernandez said. "I love to be here."
The American League Cy Young winner seemed relaxed and happy Thursday, after throwing a two-inning simulated game in his first appearance of the spring. The Mariners hold Hernandez out of early Cactus League games, hoping that keeping him on the back fields will lower the intensity and perhaps reduce the wear and tear on his valuable right arm.
Even on the back field, Hernandez said, "The adrenaline's going, and you want to strike out everybody."
He struck out a few, as usual. At age 24 (he turns 25 in April), Hernandez already has 1,042 career strikeouts. He's 3,833 strikeouts behind Johnson, which Johnson didn't mind pointing out to him.
"He told me I need four more Cy Youngs and 4,000 strikeouts," Hernandez said. "I said, 'I'll be there, don't worry.'"
Will he get there in a Mariners' uniform? It's far too early to say that. The M's didn't trade Johnson until three years after he won his first Cy (his only one for Seattle), and not until he was 34 years old.
Two more thoughts on Felix and Randy:
-- I'd never want to judge anyone on a spring training game, let alone on a simulated game on a back field. But besides looking relaxed and sounding happy, Felix looks strong.
"I'm feeling so good," he said.
Hernandez said he wants to improve on his outstanding 2010 season.
"I think I can get better," he said. "Why not? This year, I'm trying to not let anyone score any runs in the first inning."
Hernandez allowed 15 runs in 34 first innings last year. While that may not sound like much, it's the most runs he allowed in any inning.
-- Watching Randy and Felix together, here's what I was wondering: If you take the two best pitchers in any franchise's history, where would the Mariners rank? In other words, Randy and Felix vs. any two pitchers any other franchise has had.