Orlando Hernandez Rumors

Orlando Hernandez To Retire

Orlando Hernandez has attempted comebacks in consecutive seasons and expressed interest in pitching in the Major Leagues this year, but he's ready to officially end his career. The right-hander will announce his retirement, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).

El Duque last pitched in the Major Leagues for the 2007 Mets, but he made a name for himself across town as a playoff standout for the Yankees. Armed with a deceptive delivery, he suited up for the Yankees from 1998-2004, appearing in 16 postseason games with the club and helping New York win three consecutive World Championships.

Now 45, Hernandez retires with a playoff ERA of 2.55 with 9.1 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in 106 innings. His regular season numbers are not quite as strong: a 4.13 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 1314 2/3 innings. In nine MLB seasons, Hernandez earned over $34.5MM.

The Rangers signed Hernandez in 2009 and the Nationals signed him in 2010, but neither club called him up despite solid numbers in the minor leagues. In 15 2/3 innings for Nationals affiliates, he posted a 1.72 ERA with 12.1 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9, though he was 44 at the time.

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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Nationals Sign Orlando Hernandez

The Nationals have signed Orlando Hernandez to a minor league contract, reports CSNWashington.com's Mark Zuckerman at Nats Insider. El Duque, the half-brother of Livan Hernandez, will report to the team's Florida spring complex and may pitch for Triple-A Syracuse at some point this season.

The Rangers released the veteran right-hander last July, and at the age of 44, it seemed unlikely that Hernandez would catch on with another club. However, we heard this spring that he was still working out and throwing, in hopes of signing somewhere this season. At that point, Hernandez's velocity was sitting at about 82-83 mph, according to Reds scouting director Chris Buckley.

El Duque Wants To Pitch In The Majors Again

Orlando Hernandez is still working out and throwing because he wants to play in the majors again, according to Jorge Arangure Jr. of ESPN.com. El Duque, 44, says he's willing to start or relieve. His agent says several teams are interested, but not quite yet. They'd prefer to wait until after Spring Training to assess their needs.

Hernandez, who signed with the Rangers last year but never made the club, is throwing 82-83 mph, according to Reds scouting director Chris Buckley. Hernandez is focused on returning to the majors for the first time since 2007, but he can see himself working for his agency once he stops pitching.

Hernandez already played a role in recruiting Jose Julio Ruiz for his agency, Legacy Sports. Agent Mike Maulini, who also represents Hernandez, says he's likely to hold an open workout for the many clubs interested in Ruiz soon to "re-establish his market." We heard he was close to signing last month, before he switched agencies.

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Rangers Release Orlando Hernandez

The Rangers have released righthander Orlando Hernandez according to T.R Sullivan of MLB.com. Yesterday we learned that Hernandez was likely to opt for free agency once his out clause kicked in on Monday, but the Rangers beat him to it.

El Duque had pitched effectively in 11 innings of relief with Triple-A Oklahoma City, but he didn't show enough velocity or command for Texas to think he was big league ready.

Orlando Hernandez Expected To Become A Free Agent

MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says that the Rangers have told Orlando Hernandez that he will not be called up to the big leagues by Monday, which is when El Duque's out clause comes into play. Sullivan says Hernandez is expected to exercise the opt out and become a free agent.

In 11 innings with Triple-A Oklahoma City, all in relief, Hernandez allowed just four hits and four walks while striking out 12 . Sullivan says that he did not show enough velocity or command for the Rangers to think he's ready to pitch in the big leagues.