El Duque Intends To Pitch In 2011

Orlando Hernandez hasn't pitched in the majors for three years, but he intends to play in 2011, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson (on Twitter). The Cuban right-hander has tried to reach the majors in each of the past two seasons without making it higher than Triple-A. But even at 45 years old, the former playoff hero believes he has the stuff to pitch in the major leagues.

Hernandez's minor league numbers suggest he may have what it takes to pitch at the highest level. He has stuck out more than a batter per inning at each one of the four minor league stops he has made over the course of the past two seasons. His ERA has never been above 2.45 in that time, but he has logged just 26.2 innings, so the sample size is small.

The Rangers, who signed Hernandez last year, and the Nationals, who signed him this year, did not call him up despite his numbers. If anyone can match Jamie Moyer's late-career success, it could be El Duque, who has never relied on an overpowering fastball and has always had a deceptive delivery.


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