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"El Duque" walks away [updated]

Aug 30, 2010, 7:05 PM EDT

MIAMI — Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez walked away from Class AA Harrisburg yesterday, abruptly ending his season without returning to the major leagues.

According to the Patriot-News, Hernandez left the Senators in part because he hadn't yet received an opportunity to be promoted to the Nationals' roster. The Nats signed the 44-year-old right-hander and half-brother of Livan Hernandez to a minor-league contract last month with the understanding he'd be considered for a spot in the bullpen based on his performance. In six appearances with Harrisburg, he went 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA.

Hernandez's signing also was a factor in the Nationals' signing of Cuban right-hander Yunesky Maya to a four-year contract.

UPDATE AT 5:17 P.M. — Mike Rizzo said "El Duque" asked him if he'd be getting a September call-up, and when the GM informed him he wouldn't, the pitcher decided to leave the club.

"His expectation was to be a September call-up," Rizzo said. "And just with the roster spot we're in and the additional guys we're going to put on the roster, it was just something I felt wasn't warranted at thisRead more »

  1. md62red - Aug 30, 2010 at 7:12 PM

    My guess is that once he saw Strasburg go down, he thought it should've meant him being called up. When that didn't happen, he probably used that as a decision point. Or maybe he was given a heads up that he wouldn't be on the Sept Call Up Roster??? I just hope it won't negatively impact Maya or Livo.

  2. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 7:15 PM

    md62red–you ain't kiddin' about the potential effect that might have on Livo and Maya!

  3. Frank - Aug 30, 2010 at 7:16 PM

    I think Livan really likes Washington, and hasn't made it much of a secret. I'm not sure his half brother is going to be that big of a deal.Maya I don't know much about, but I know he's pitching really well and is under a 4year K. Even if he is upset about it, it'll be a while before he can really do much about it-and by then he could be a professional in Washington, making his own hay.

  4. Pedro G. - Aug 30, 2010 at 7:26 PM

    DANG! Was hoping for a Cuban trio on the roster in September. Saw El Duque in Harrisburg last week but left the game before he came in to pitch. At least I got a picture of him and his nice shiny bald head. Almost as good as Mench's.

  5. Big Cat - Aug 30, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    Yeah…..well bye bye blackbird!

  6. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 30, 2010 at 7:32 PM

    I never expected El Duque to be anything more than a September call up as a reward for his help in obtaining Maya…. nothing more…Oh well.

  7. P. Cole - Aug 30, 2010 at 7:57 PM

    He's 44!!!!!

  8. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    Who cares how old he is…age is a number if you can pitch at 17 or 47 it does not matter, as long as you get folks out. My guess he he thought a callup was coming and maybe he had Knorr contact Rizzo or he talked to Livo and learned that was not in the cards, he decided to take his marbles and go home…sad, I hope someone picks him up, he is better than 90% of our bullpen right now!

  9. Jim Webster - Aug 30, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    It would have been fun to see el Duque up here. On a trip to Havana a couple of years back, even as I wore my Curly W hat every day, more Cubans asked me about el Duque than about Livo.

  10. BinM - Aug 30, 2010 at 8:42 PM

    The abrupt departure of "El Duque" makes about as much sense as his initial signing did, in my book. However, when they signed Maya, I thought "well, maybe he'll serve as a mentor / translator for the rookie" – Didn't happen, because they were never on the same roster together. If any connection is to be drawn, the fact that Livan & Maya have the same representative/agent holds up better than any notion involving O.Hernandez.

  11. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 30, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    El Duque and Maya were together for several weeks in Viera.

  12. BinM - Aug 30, 2010 at 10:35 PM

    NatsJack:Yes, and no – El Duque was signed in early to mid July, Maya was signed in late July. They were both initially assigned to the GCL (the "yes" portion). For the 'no' portion, they were never active teammates – "El Duque" was promoted to HAR on August 7th, while Maya was first activated on August 10th. They were in the same place, but never together on the same roster. Probably a fine hair to split, but there it is.

  13. Anonymous - Aug 31, 2010 at 1:24 AM

    Rizzo screwed him, what bullpen arm is more deserving that El Duque! Next person who will be screwed in Dunn!

  14. Anonymous - Aug 31, 2010 at 2:40 AM

    I applaud El Duque, if you were not going to give him a shot in the majors, why sign him, if you did not plan to "use" him to get Maya.

  15. BaseballinDC - Aug 31, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    It's too bad; I was hoping to see him pitch for just for old times' sake. On the other hand, Rizzo's right to use the September slots for those who will be up and coming. At 44 if Hernandez isn't ready for an MLB roster, he should retire. He has no business being in the minors.

  16. N. Cognito - Aug 31, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    The headline for this story keeps bringing back memories of the Left Banke.

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