The Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract, the team announced. The right-hander hit the market when the Giants released him Friday.
The 31-year-old Hernandez would provide another experienced bullpen option if he were to make the Braves, who have fellow 30-something relievers on hand in Jim Johnson, Eric O’Flaherty and Josh Collmenter. Hernandez might have a legitimate shot to crack Atlanta’s roster, too, as Mark Bowman of MLB.com reported Saturday that righties Mauricio Cabrera and Armando Rivero are likely to open the season on the disabled list.
The Braves are the fifth major league organization for Hernandez, who debuted with the Orioles in 2009 and has registered a 4.10 ERA, 9.13 K/9, 3.83 BB/9 and a low ground-ball rate (31.6 percent) over 487 innings. He posted similar numbers to his career totals last year in Philadelphia, where he logged a 3.84 ERA with 9.91 K/9 against 3.96 BB/9 and a 37.3 percent grounder rate in 72 2/3 frames. Hernandez has typically helped offset his paltry ground-ball totals by inducing plenty of infield pop-ups (13.5 percent career rate), and he features a 94 mph fastball.