that tends to happen when you come in fat
that tends to happen when you come in fat
....When the Astros released 37-year-old right-hander Livan Hernandez early Friday morning, Braves general manager Frank Wren took advantage of the opportunity to add the durable veteran to his pitching staff, where he will serve as a long reliever who will be available to make spot starts.
Financial details of the one-year deal were not disclosed.
Hours after leaving the Astros, Hernandez was already in the Braves' clubhouse, talking to his new teammates and getting prepared for his new role in the bullpen.
"It's very nice to come to a team that has a chance to make the playoffs and go to the World Series," Hernandez said. "I've got a lot of history with the Braves."
Hernandez's arrival will not affect Randall Delgado or Julio Teheran, both of whom are competing to begin the season as Atlanta's fifth starter. The veteran hurler signed with the understanding that he will only be used as a starting pitcher when injury or a schedule change affects the rotation.
"We made it clear to Livan [that] he is not in competition for the fifth starter's spot at this point," Wren said.
The signing of Hernandez gives the Braves the flexibility to use Cristhian Martinez in a middle relief role instead of simply reserving him to work multiple innings as a long reliever. The ability to use both Martinez and Kris Medlen in one- or two-inning roles could help lessen the strain placed on primary setup men Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty.
The decision to sign Hernandez came after Cory Gearrin struggled in consecutive appearances and gave the Braves reason to worry about starting the year with him in the bullpen. Hernandez and Yohan Flande will likely fill the final two available bullpen spots.
"It gives us some flexibility with guys that can do a variety of things," Wren said. "You're looking to add winning pieces, pieces that you envision using when the game is still in play. I think we've done that with Livan.
"He's got a very resilient arm. He's always been able to bounce back. He's always been able to pitch a lot of innings. He's a great competitor. He holds runners and fields his position. He handles the bat. He does so many things well that we felt he was an ideal fit."
Many Braves fans will best remember Hernandez as the 22-year-old Marlins pitcher who used plate umpire Eric Gregg's wide strike zone to his advantage while recording 15 strikeouts in a complete-game win over Atlanta in Game 5 of the 1997 National League Championship Series.
Fifteen years and approximately 3,000 Major League innings later, Hernandez finds himself thanking the Braves for the opportunity to prove he can still be an asset.
The Braves had been interested in signing Hernandez over the winter and giving him the same long relief/spot starter role that they now have, but he opted for the opportunity to be a starter with the Astros.
Hernandez went 1-2 with a 5.63 ERA while completing 16 innings in Grapefruit League action this year. His release saved the Astros $100,000, as free agents who signed a Minor League deal receive a $100,000 retention bonus if they are not placed on the Opening Day roster or released five days prior to Opening Day.
"I can't complain," he said. "I'll come over here and try to do my job."
Hernandez went 8-13 with a 4.47 ERA in 29 starts with the Nationals last year. For his career, he is 174-176 with a 4.39 ERA in 475 appearances. The lone relief appearance of his career came on Sept. 24, 1996, when he tossed three scoreless innings against the Braves.
Wren was part of the front-office group that lured Hernandez to the Marlins after he'd defected from Cuba in 1996. He remembers courting the right-hander in the Dominican Republic and showing him some of the top restaurants in the Miami and South Beach area.
This time, Wren simply had to pick up the phone and offer Hernandez a chance to prove he can still pitch at the Major League level.
"He was excited," Wren said. "There was no hesitation."
yes. i am now expecting a world series due to this signing.
oh, hey bitches. it's opening day.
michael bourn - cf
martin prado - 3b
brian mccann - c
dan uggla - 2b
freddie freeman - 1b
matt diaz - lf
jason heyward - rf
tyler pastornicky - ss
tommy hanson - p
i'm not all that optimistic about this year's team (especially compared to the last 2 years), but $#@! if i'm not excited like a 10 year old on opening day.
is pastornicky hitting behind heyward going to help jason move forward? i think not
already the starters are sent crying to the bullpen to bail them out
good work by medlen there. i think he is going to be a big part of this year's team.
triple for pastornicky!
got to get him in.
No $#@!, I don't know why I expect anything else, especially after last year.
pitching staff gives up 1 run on 7 hits yet the offense puts up 0 runs on 4 hits.
same old braves.
That was probably the most soul-sucking opening day game I can remember. To be so listless at the plate after ending the season that way is so deflating.
Shoulda traded Jurrjens when they could have gotten something decent for him.
prado! finally! thank god!
the 2012 braves are on the board.
it's gonna be a long season.
it's obviously too early to panic, but it'd be nice to get a win today (or at least score some $#@!ing runs. i think i am more upset about the lack of offense than i am the 0-2 start). regardless, starting the season being swept by the $#@!ing mets is not the way anyone wants to go into the year.
These $#@!in guys.... just finished Easter dinner and sat down to see mb, mp, and mac all 3 strike the $#@! out to that rhinoplasty (sp) $#@!sucker.
this team is a $#@!ing joke.
Should we try and get Francona? We need $#@!ing something. This team doesn't give a $#@!. WE CAN'T GET THE $#@!IN BALL OUT OF THE INFIELD.
these $#@!s are gana get no hit..... $#@! Greg Walker.... $#@! Fredi Gonzalez.
I'm gana watch 162 of these worthless games this year.
Just end the season already. This is embarrassing.
it's like watching soccer in that as soon as the opposing team scores, you just assume you're beat.
HOLY $#@! A HIT!!!!1!!11111!!!!!
Maybe this will snap them out of the funk.... Just needed ONE break!!!!
no team has ever made the playoffs after an 0-4 start* so tonight is a MUST WIN!
* - although under the new playoff rules, last year's red sox would have.
bourn - cf
prado - lf
mccann - c
uggla - 2b
freeman - 1b
diaz - rf
francisco - 3b
pastornicky - ss
beachy - p
If we can't beat the 'stros tonight I am going to rethink my fanaticism.
hoping it's just a day off.
...although it seems entirely too early for him to need one.
yup, i don't agree with it either.
holy $#@!, a lead!!!
Must always have a rookie on this team, before they crumble!
atta boy beachy!
jesus christ francisco is an adventure in the field.
aaand of course that's what happens next.
and now the pitcher drives in the go ahead run. what a weird last couple of innings.
I'm glad this piece of $#@! isn't on mlb tv in dallas. Thank god for the blackout.
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