Formerly known as Fausto Carmona, Hernandez makes his first appearance of the season Wednesday night in the series finale against the Los Angeles Angels.
For the past 12 years, the Indians organization and its fans thought they knew all that was needed to know about Carmona. He went 53-66 with a 4.59 ERA in his first six major league seasons with the Indians, won 19 games in 2007 and was an All-Star in 2010.
However, after going 7-15 with a 5.25 ERA in 2011, the right-hander was arrested in January in the Dominican Republic while trying to renew his visa. It was then discovered Carmona's actual name was Roberto Hernandez, who was 31 years old - three years older than his listed age.
He was unable to return to the U.S. until he was granted a visa on July 21, but drew a three-week suspension by the league for age and identity fraud.
"I am extremely remorseful and apologize to the fans, teammates, the team and everybody else who has looked up to me,'' said Hernandez, who has not discussed his reason for his name change when signing with Cleveland in 2000.
"I want to forget the past,'' he said. "I want to work hard and help my team on the field.''
After going 2-1 with a 4.07 ERA in four minor league starts, Hernandez gets that chance for Cleveland (54-63) on Wednesday.
"I expect him to go out there and not try to do too much," manager Manny Acta told the Indians' official website. "I'm sure he's going to have some kind of butterflies."
Hernandez has a 1.77 ERA despite going 0-3 in seven starts versus Los Angeles. He did not allow an earned run over 13 innings while not factoring in the decision of his last two against the Angels last year.
His 2012 debut comes against a Los Angeles lineup which pounded out 13 hits in a 9-6 victory Tuesday. Albert Pujols hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs as the Angels (61-56) snapped a three-game skid in which they totaled seven runs.
"It was great to come up with a win and give us an opportunity to win this series," said Pujols, who is 4 for 8 with two homers and six RBIs in the series after going 1 for 23 in his previous six games.
Michael Brantley had three hits, including a two-run home run, for Cleveland, which fell to 5-3 versus Los Angeles in 2012. Brantley, 12 for 33 (.364) with two homers and eight RBIs against the Angels this season, is batting .357 (5 for 14) with one homer versus scheduled starter Ervin Santana (5-10, 5.82).
The right-hander is 1-8 with a 5.03 ERA in 13 starts versus Cleveland, including 0-3 with a 3.66 ERA in six at home. He allowed 10 runs in 8 1-3 innings while going 0-2 against the Indians in two road outings this year.
Los Angeles, though, has won each of Santana's last three starts while he's gone 1-0 with a 4.67 ERA.
Still, he's yielded 11 runs and five homers in eight innings to go 0-1 in his last two at Anaheim. The most recent came Friday, when he gave up five third-inning runs and lasted 6 1-3 during a 6-5 win over Seattle.