Veteran right-hander Livan Hernandez has made a guarantee of sorts that he will be a part of the Astros rotation when the regular season gets underway. The interview is in Spanish, but I think I understand most of it. I tried running it through Google translator and it made less sense than the Spanish version. So, if you read Spanish fluently, please let us know what we may be missing here. It sounds like Hernandez has some inside information that he isn’t sharing with us. Perhaps he’s been told that certain individuals will be traded and other individuals will be starting the season in the minors. Either way, it looks like Livan could break camp as the number five starter.
The Astros could do worse than Hernandez at the back of their rotation. Although unspectacular in recent years, he has been a model of durability. After starting at least 30 games for 13 straight seasons, Hernandez made 29 starts last year for the Nationals. Davey Johnson benched Hernandez toward the end of the season to get a better look at youngsters Stephen Strasburg and Tom Milone.
Livan has remained healthy throughout his career and has every reason to exude confidence. Every time Hernandez has stepped on the mound since late in the 1997 season it has been as a big league starter. Livan has not pitched as a reliever or in the minors during that time- not even once. No wonder the 37 year-old Cuban thinks he will be in the Astros rotation- it’s all he’s ever done.
Hernandez also has some extra motivation to be working in the big leagues this year. He really needs the money. Livan is in some financial distress and creditors are garnishing his wages. Perhaps his hunger to maintain the big league lifestyle will help boost Hernandez’s performance to something more than that of a common innings-eater.