OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners are set to take on the Oakland A's on opening day today.

It's fitting that Hernandez will make his season debut against the Athletics. The Seattle ace always faces them to start, or so it seems to the A's.

Three times last season, in fact -- first in the opening game in Tokyo, again in Seattle's 2012 Safeco Field debut, then once more back in Oakland for the A's home opener. The Mariners won the first two.

Hernandez is fresh off his signing of a $175 million, seven-year contract last month that briefly made him baseball's highest-paid pitcher until Detroit's Justin Verlander topped him Friday.

Hernandez, who turns 27 on April 8, opted to sit out the World Baseball Classic for Venezuela to focus on this season. He went 13-9 with a 3.06 ERA in 33 starts last season, two years after capturing the AL Cy Young award.

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