Seattle Mariners' Félix Hernández becomes US citizen

Seattle Mariners' Félix Hernández becomes US citizen

Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners walks through the dugout smiling during the eighth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Safeco Field on June 3, 2018 in Seattle. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

SEATTLE — Star Mariners' pitcher Felix Hernandez’s journey from Venezuela began when he was just 16 years old and signed with the Seattle Mariners. Now at 32, Hernandez is a U.S citizen.

“It means a lot. I mean, now I am proud to be an American,” Hernandez said.

King Felix, as he's known to Mariners' fans, passed his citizenship test on Monday morning. Along with 74 others, he became a United States citizen.

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It was a huge moment for the Venezuela native, who spent his entire 14-year career with the Seattle Mariners. He said there is no other city where he would like to become an American.

“I definitely was going to do it here. I wasn't going to do it somewhere else. I love the city, love Seattle, so being American here in Seattle is amazing,” Hernandez added.

Hernandez made Mariners history as the only player to pitch a perfect game in 2012. He's the last player to do so in Major League Baseball. He also holds the record for most strikeouts by a Mariners pitcher.

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But he said he was more nervous taking the citizenship exam than being on the field. He said he failed the test the first time around because he didn’t study.

“This is tougher than what I do. I was more nervous, don't even get nervous when I'm pitching,” Hernandez said. “I can control myself when I'm on the mound but when people asking questions, it's a little tough.”

Hernandez has been out of the starting rotation due to a right hamstring injury since September 8th.

He's scheduled to make his final start of the season Wednesday.

He plans to celebrate being a new American with his wife over the weekend. She became a citizen a month ago.