FWST Jeff Wilson Piece on El Duque
Orlando Hernandez sets own deadline for return to majors
A 12-hour bus ride last week from Nashville to Des Moines, Iowa, reminded longtime major-leaguer Orlando Hernandez that a long stay at Triple A Oklahoma City doesn’t appeal to him.
"I don’t know if it was good or bad, but I don’t like it," he said of the trip. "After 11 seasons in the major leagues, you think I want to live in Triple A for more than one month? No chance."
The veteran right-hander apparently will give himself until July 20, the date he can opt out of the minor-league deal he signed with the Rangers last month, to get to the big-league club.
He said he isn’t quite ready for a promotion, needing two or three more outings to get comfortable. For now, he only wants to be a reliever.
RedHawks manager Bobby Jones said Hernandez has been good for them, touching as high as 89 mph with his fastball and allowing only one run in four outings.
There are no guarantees that the Rangers will call on Hernandez before July 20, said general manager Jon Daniels. All reports have been good, but there might not be a need in the Rangers bullpen.
If that’s the case, Hernandez might not stick around too long for a chance.
"Off the mound, I feel great," he said. "I didn’t come here to live in Triple A more than one month. After the one month, if I’m not ready in one month, I’ll go back home."
— Jeff Wilson