Tribe's Hernandez gets visa, suspended 3 weeks
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Cleveland Indians pitcher Roberto Hernandez was suspended Saturday for three weeks by Major League Baseball for age and identity fraud.
Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, has received a visa to return to the United States and that he would be eligible to rejoin the team Aug. 11.
Hernandez will address the media Sunday at Progressive Field.
MLB said in a release that Hernandez will be allowed to participate in a minor league rehabilitation assignment during his suspension.
His rehab will include three or four starts. The right-hander will throw for manager Manny Acta and the coaching staff Sunday.
"We're looking forward to having Roberto back in the organization," Antonetti said. "He has put in a lot of work at our academy in the Dominican. I know he's eager to get going. He's very remorseful."
Antonetti said Hernandez has thrown in the bullpen and simulated games while throwing 70 to 75 pitches in each outing.
Acta has spoken to Hernandez several times over the last few months.
"He was getting antsy," Acta said. "He never got down on his hope for coming over. I never felt he gave any sign of thinking that (returning to the Indians) wasn't going to happen."
Hernandez was arrested in the Dominican Republic in January outside the U.S. consulate, where he had gone to renew his visa. It was discovered that Hernandez is 31 years old, three years older than his listed age.
His contract was reworked for a lower salary at the Indians' request, a factor that might have influenced the length of his suspension.
Miami Marlins pitcher Juan Carlos Oviedo, aka Leo Nunez, was suspended eight weeks for similar fraud charges. He is eligible to return to the major league on Monday.
Hernandez will make $2.5 million as a base salary in 2012 and can earn an additional $2.7 million in performance and roster bonuses. Hernandez was scheduled to make $7 million.
The Indians went into the offseason expecting Carmona, their opening day starter in 2011, to be in the rotation. He was 7-15 with a 5.25 ERA last season, but made 32 starts and didn't miss a turn in the rotation.
Hernandez, who is 53-66 with a 4.59 ERA in five seasons, has been wildly inconsistent throughout his career. His best season came in 2007 when he finished 19-8 with a 3.08 ERA. Hernandez was 8-7 in 2008, and in 2009 the club sent him to the lower minors to work on his mechanics. He went 13-14 with a 3.77 ERA in 2010.
The Indians, who are battling to stay in the AL Central race, are 12th in the league in ERA for starting pitchers.
"I'm happy for him," Acta said. "You can never have enough pitching. We've added a guy who has been part of our rotation the last few years. We could use a guy who can go out there every five days and give us a chance to compete."
Cleveland signed Carmona as a free agent in 2000.