It’s now likely that Roberto Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, will pitch with the Indians in the very near future.
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Hernandez has received his U.S. visa and is scheduled to arrive in Cleveland tonight. He’s scheduled to meet with reporters tomorrow at Progressive Field and will throw a simulated game for the Indians next week.
Hernandez was arrested in January in his native Dominican Republic for falsifying his identity. He reached a deal in March to have the charges dropped in exchange for completing a work program.
While Hernandez will be back in the United States this weekend, he will not join the Indians’ starting rotation right away. Hoynes was told that Hernandez will have to serve a three-week suspension first. The suspension will begin today, so he’ll be eligible to return on August 11.
The Indians were hoping that Hernandez would be able to avoid a suspension altogether, as he agreed this spring to renogotiate his contract and take a cut in guaranteed pay. Still, the punishment isn’t as severe as the eight-week suspension levied to Marlins’ right-hander Juan Carlos Oviedo for falsifying his identity. Hernandez will need three or four tuneup starts in the minors anyway, so the suspension may not have a big impact on his timetable.
Hernandez posted a 5.25 ERA in 32 starts with the Indians last year. He owns a 53-66 record and a 4.59 ERA over six seasons in the majors.
Colby Rasmus isn’t ready to take outfield reps just yet. According to Rays’ manager Kevin Cash, that’s a red flag, one that could potentially postpone Rasmus’ debut as the club’s designated hitter and outfielder in 2017. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rasmus will need to prove he can play a defensive position before getting cleared for the active roster, something which the veteran outfielder has yet to do this spring.
Rasmus, 30, signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rays following his two-year run with the Astros. He batted a meager .206/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and a .641 OPS in 2016 and was shut down in late September with an unspecified hip/groin issue. Entering the 2017 season, he’s expected to work his way back to a full-time role after undergoing surgery to repair his core muscle and left hip labrum last October.
The Rays also finalized their one-year, $1.2 million deal with catcher Derek Norris on Saturday and will need to clear room for him on the 40-man roster. Topkin speculates that the move could send Rasmus to the 60-day disabled list, though the outfielder is not projected to miss more than a couple weeks of the regular season.
The Rangers have reportedly agreed to a six-year, $49.5 million extension for second baseman Rougned Odor, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The extension comes with a club option for a seventh year, Heyman adds.
It’s close to the six-year, $52.5 million extension Jason Kipnis netted with the Indians in 2014, a sum Odor was rumored to be seeking during contract negotiations over the last two years. Granted, the circumstances are a little different this time around. Both players signed extensions on the cusp of their fourth year in the major leagues, but at 27 years old, Kipnis was coming off of an All-Star campaign and a career-high 4.5 fWAR performance. Odor, meanwhile, saw mixed results in 2016, batting 33 home runs and putting up 2.0 fWAR while struggling to stay consistent at the plate and exhibiting poor defense.
According to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, Odor previously agreed to a $563,180 salary for 2017. Depending on when the extension kicks in, it should cover all three of Odor’s arbitration-eligible seasons and two seasons of potential free agency. The team has yet to confirm the extension.