Dodgers acquire righty Hernandez from Phillies
Philadelphia will receive two players to be named or cash from Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers obtained right-handed starting pitcher Roberto Hernandez from the Phillies on Thursday for two players to be named or cash.
The 33-year-old Hernandez, a former All-Star, has gone 6-8 with a 3.87 ERA this season, and he'll provide depth at the back end of the rotation, where Dan Haren had a five-game losing streak snapped in Wednesday night's win over the Angels, and Josh Beckett has been pitching with a left hip impingement.
Hernandez will start Friday in Milwaukee in place of Beckett, who felt discomfort playing catch before Wednesday's game and is scheduled to have an MRI exam on Thursday. General manager Ned Colletti said he had been in talks with Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro for a couple of weeks regarding Hernandez. Those talks were accelerated once Colletti heard of Beckett's status.
"I'm happy," Hernandez said through former Phillies teammate Wil Nieves. "It's the first time that I've been traded. Obviously, it's a nice feeling going to a team that has a chance. I'm really nervous right now. I wasn't expecting this. So yeah, I'm excited, but at the same time, I'm nervous."
Hernandez has won his past three decisions, pitching at least seven innings in three of his past five starts. He most recently went eight innings and allowed one unearned run against the Nationals on Friday.
"Roberto provides us with another big league starting pitcher, who has pitched well this year, particularly the last seven starts," said Colletti. "He has postseason experience and helps fortify the rotation down the stretch."
Colletti said the Dodgers might not be done adding to their pitching staff, which has been sapped by injuries. Relievers Chris Perez (right ankle bone spurs) and Paco Rodriguez (muscle strain near left shoulder) both landed on the 15-day disabled list on the last homestand, while long reliever and spot starter Paul Maholm is lost for the season after tearing the ACL in his left knee. Beckett's roster status will depend on the results of his MRI, Colletti said.
"There's another pitcher out there that we've been trying to get," Colletti said Thursday. "It's somebody that could maybe take Maholm's place and start or pitch out of relief. We'll see how that goes in the next few days."
As for the pitcher the Dodgers just acquired, manager Don Mattingly said he was excited about Hernandez's arrival.
"He's a ground-ball guy. He's a sinker-ball guy. I've seen him since he's been in the American League," Mattingly said. "A lot of movement. Big guy. He's going to be best when he's down in the strike zone. Sinker-slider-changeup guy for the most part. If he's going good, you're going to see the ball on the ground a lot."
Mattingly said 24-year-old rookie Carlos Frias, who made his Major League debut Monday, was slated to make Friday's start before Thursday's trade. Colletti said the trade allows the Dodgers to keep Frias in his bullpen role, where the general manager said he thought Frias could excel as a long or short reliever.
With his success this season and his last string of starts, Hernandez has reestablished himself as a rotation option.
"It is a good feeling, being a starter," he said. "I've always been a starter, so I'm just trying to do my job, whatever I am, if it's starting or in the bullpen. It's a real good feeling knowing every five days, I'm going to be on the mound."
Hernandez spent most of his career with Cleveland and was a 19-game winner in 2007, when he finished fourth in American League Cy Young Award voting.
Until 2011, Hernandez played under the assumed name of Fausto Carmona. That controversy led to a suspension that forced him to miss most of the 2012 season, and to the revelation that he was three years older than he originally claimed.
Hernandez had to clear waivers in order for the Phillies to trade him after July 31. He'll earn $4.5 million this year, and he'll be a free agent after the season.
The Phillies have been frequent in-season trade partners with the Dodgers in recent years, with Los Angeles receiving Michael Young, Joe Blanton and Shane Victorino from Philadelphia.
This was Hernandez's first season with the Phillies after spending the previous year with the Rays and seven years before that with the Indians.
"I'm going to miss all my teammates," Hernandez said. "It was fun here. A lot of fun clubhouse guys. The closeness of everybody who helped me here and the fans.
"It is a business, so now it's time for me to go to L.A. So hopefully, you know, have a good career there."