Roberto Hernandez, the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona, will return to the majors on Wednesday with the Indians, starting the team's game with the Angels. The 31-year old Hernandez had missed most of the season's first four months while straightening out his visa issues and serving a suspension from Major League Baseball.
Hernandez did make four rehab starts to get back into game shape, and he had a 4.07 ERA in 24 innings for low-A Lake County and AAA Columbus, striking out 20 and walking just four. Homers were a problem, as Hernandez allowed five in his brief rehab start, but four were solo shots that came in one start for Lake County.
To make room for Hernandez on the team, Cleveland placed starter Josh Tomlin on the 15-day DL with inflammation of his right elbow, never a good sign. Tomlin has had an awful year for the Tribe, pitching to a 6.36 ERA after having an acceptable 4.25 mark last year. His walk rate has nearly doubled from 1.14 to 2.18, with his homer rate also going up. That would be a good indicator that your luck is about to turn south.
Cleveland's rotation has been an absolute nightmare this season, and even with all of the controversy surrounding Hernandez, he'll be a welcome addition to the team. With the shift of Tomlin to the DL, Derek Lowe's release, and the demotion to AAA of Jeanmar Gomez, just Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson remain from the Opening Day rotation of the Indians. The team's rotation has a 5.05 ERA for the season and just a 5.90 strikeout rate through all the tumult, and Hernandez could prove to be a solid enough boost for the team down the stretch. However, the recent losing streak has knocked the Indians out of playoff contention, and they're really just playing for their own sanity right now.
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