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Hernandez finds success sticking to simple mantra

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Roberto Hernandez's mantra is simple: Keep the ball down.

He struggled to stay true to that in his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday, when he got roughed up in two innings, but he fared much better on Monday afternoon in a 6-1 loss to the Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. He allowed just one hit and struck out three in three scoreless innings.

"I worked in my last bullpen at keeping the ball down," Hernandez said. "That's what I did. Keep the ball down. Don't overthrow. That's what I did and why I had everything working today."

Hernandez threw more sinkers Monday, instead of more four-seam fastballs like Wednesday.

"Every pitch felt good," he said.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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