Jan 31, 2012, 10:45 PM EDT
US Presswire photo
Livan Hernandez tips his cap to the crowd following his last start in Washington.
Whatever slim chance there was of Livan Hernandez returning to the Nationals for another season appears to have vanished. The veteran right-hander has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Astros, according to FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal.
Hernandez has started and won more games than any other pitcher in the Nationals’ brief history, posting a combined 4.32 ERA over two stints (2005-06, 2009-11). He started the Nats’ first-ever game at Philadelphia in 2005, the home opener at RFK Stadium one week later and the season openers in both 2006 and 2011 and remained a fan favorite through it all.
But an influx of young pitching has left the Nationals with six strong candidates for five spots in this year’s Opening Day rotation, and despite affection for the 36-year-old hurler, the club had no reason to engage in serious contract talks this winter.
Though he agreed to a minor-league deal, Hernandez should have a shot at cracking the Astros’ Opening Day rotation. Coming off a 106-loss season, Houston is seeking a No. 5 starter this spring. Candidates include left-handers J.A. Happ and Zach Duke (who just signed a minor-league contract this week).
NL EAST STANDINGS
THE BASEBALL SHOW
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Slumping Nats already 7 games back in NL East
- Bats silent in 8-0 Marlins win over Washington
- Thumb swollen, Scherzer can't throw in bullpen
- Nationals try to get back on track in Miami
- Lack of late-inning execution holding back Nats
- Marlins 3, Nats 2: Familiar storyline leads to loss
- Intentional or not, Harper leads MLB in walks
- Nationals open long road trip in Miami
- MLB Power Rankings: Mets, Padres surprising early
- 'Baseball in the District' - Tom Schad of the Washington Times