After returning to the United States over the weekend — and receiving three birthday cakes from his teammates — Roberto Hernandez made his first minor league rehab start tonight for Class A Lake County.
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer passes along word that Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, allowed three runs (one earned) over five innings. He struck out four and walked none while throwing 46 out of 66 pitches for strikes.
Hernandez was arrested in his native Dominican Republic in January for falsifying his identity. He reached a deal in March to have the charges dropped in exchange for completing a work program and re-worked his contract with the Indians in hopes of avoiding a punishment from MLB. However, he is currently serving a three-week suspension.
Hernandez is eligible to return from his suspension on August 11, so he is currently lined up for two more tune-up starts.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.