CLEVELAND: Roberto Hernandez (the former Fausto Carmona) will return to Progressive Field briefly then begin a three-week suspension imposed by Major League Baseball for identity theft in the Dominican Republic.
Hernandez will throw a bullpen here on Sunday then head for a minor-league rehab assignment to build his arm strength while he serves his suspension. He can be activated Aug. 11.
That's probably when he will be added to the Indians' rotation, but who will be odd man out is anyone's guess.
""We'll have to see what our needs are then,'' General Manager Chris Antonetti said. ""But our expectation is that he will return as a starter.''
Would manager Manny Acta consider expanding the rotation to six starters?
""No,'' he said. ""By the time he gets here it will be August, and we want to win as many games as we can instead of spreading out six guys. There would be a better chance of having a four-man rotation than six.''
Hernandez was granted a work permit by the U.S. State Department this week, but he won't get paid until he completes the suspension.
The three-week delay doesn’t harm the Tribe, because Carmona still is not ready to face major-league hitters.
“”It doesn’t have much impact on us,’’ Antonetti said. “”He needs three or four more minor-league rehab starts, somewhere in that range. But he has pitched a couple of games at our Dominican Academy.’’
The Tribe sent Carmona a regimen of activities to keep in shape and develop his arm strength while he waited in the Dominican.
Antonetti said he would continue to pursue a trade: ""It (Hernandez's return) doesn’t impact that (making a deal) much. You can never have enough pitching.’’
Last year, Hernandez, 31, posted a 7-15 record and 5.25 earned-run average in 32 starts.