Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Hernandez auditioning for Braves' relief role

March 27, 2017

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Veteran right-handed reliever David Hernandez arrived in Braves camp Monday afternoon to begin a short audition for one of the remaining bullpen spots."I just want to come over here and help these guys out," Hernandez said. "It was a hectic last 48 hours, but I

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Veteran right-handed reliever David Hernandez arrived in Braves camp Monday afternoon to begin a short audition for one of the remaining bullpen spots.
"I just want to come over here and help these guys out," Hernandez said. "It was a hectic last 48 hours, but I think I've found a spot with a team that wanted me."
After requesting his release from the Giants on Friday, Hernandez spent Saturday evaluating a few options and opted to accept the Minor League deal offered by the Braves, who still have what could amount to two open spots.
If the Braves stick with their plan to go with an eight-man bullpen, one of the final two spots will likely be given to a lefty, either Paco Rodriguez or Kevin Chapman. The other spot would seemingly be filled by either Hernandez or Chaz Roe, who is out of options.
Aided by recent improved outings, Roe stands as the current favorite. But the Braves will give Hernandez a fair opportunity before determining whether to put him in Atlanta's bullpen or assign him to Triple-A Gwinnett.
"It was a tough decision, but in the end I think it was a good decision," Hernandez said. "I'm ready to just compete and win a job."
After missing the 2014 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, Hernandez posted a 4.28 ERA over 33 2/3 innings in '15 for the D-backs. The 31-year-old produced a 3.84 ERA and recorded 80 strikeouts over 72 2/3 innings for the Phillies last year, but also issued 32 walks.
Hernandez allowed seven hits and issued three walks over 5 2/3 Spring Training innings with the Giants. Each of the three runs charged to him were tallied during a March 18 appearance against the Mariners.
"The goal for me this season is to throw more strikes and walk less guys," Hernandez said. "I know when I do throw strikes, I'm pretty tough to hit."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.