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Livo likely to rejoin Nats as spring instructor

Jan 26, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

There aren’t a whole lot of ex-Nationals who bring a smile to everyone’s faces, owing in large part to the franchise’s overall lack of success and ever-changing roster during its first nine seasons in the District.

Livan Hernandez, though, has always been — and will always remain — one of the most popular players in the team’s brief history. That’s true among players, fans and media members alike.

So there were smiles aplenty yesterday at NatsFest when that familiar face (and physique) strolled through the Gaylord National Convention Center, wearing that familiar No. 61 jersey. And there surely will be more smiles in a couple of weeks when Hernandez is expected to appear in uniform at spring training as a special instructor, invited by general manager Mike Rizzo to come back and work for the organization.

“He’s one of the few guys we can call legends of the Washington Nationals,” Rizzo said. “He brings a lot to the table. First of all, he’s loved by everybody: Ownership, front office, the general manager loves him, all the players love him. And he’s got a wealth of knowledge for our pitching staff. And I just like having him around. His attitude is infectious. His knowledge is great.”

Hernandez pitched for the Nationals from 2005-06, then again from 2009-11. He has pitched more innings (828 2/3) and won more games (44) than anyone who has donned the curly W cap over the last nine years.

And the right-hander has always identified more with this organization than any of the eight others that employed him during a 17-year career. Which is why he jumped at the job opportunity presented by Rizzo last week.

“It’s something nice,” said Hernandez, who is “99 percent” sure he’ll accept the offer. “We talked a little bit the other day on the phone. I’m very excited. Always, I want to do something in this place. I think it’s the best place, here in D.C. Just to try to do some work, I’d love to try to do that.”

Hernandez’s specific job title and duties (not to mention compensation) still have to be worked out, but the right-hander (who turns 39 next month) is looking forward to participating in spring training from a new perspective.

“I’m ready to ride a golf cart like [former bench coach] Pat Corrales,” he said.

Hernandez last pitched for the Nationals in 2011, going 8-13 with a 4.47 ERA. Though he wanted to return for another season, the organization knew it couldn’t guarantee a roster spot for the veteran, given the wealth of young pitching talent that was ready to fill out the big-league staff. He wound up pitching in relief for the Braves and Brewers in 2012, posting an unsightly 6.42 ERA in 44 games.

Though he never officially announced his retirement, Hernandez was unemployed last season and spent his time playing golf in the mornings — he said his handicap is now +2 and he may qualify to play on the celebrity golf tour — and then watching baseball in the evenings. He watched the Nationals closely last year and remained in touch with several pitchers, offering advice.

Along the way, Hernandez realized he wants to stay connected to the sport that gave him a fulfilling career, not to mention the franchise that remains dear to his heart.

“I miss baseball,” he said. “I watch a lot because I love baseball. I watch it on TV and see what people are doing, more what the pitchers are doing wrong than right. I love to do that, because maybe one day I have to do some work. I’m ready for it.”

  1. natsfan1a - Jan 26, 2014 at 7:04 AM

    Great news! As previously mentioned, the highlight of my day at NatsFest was having a pic taken with Livo (there were a couple of other dudes there as well but I can just PhotoShop them out. Just kidding, Tyler and Ryan. Sort of. :-))

  2. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 26, 2014 at 7:41 AM

    Hope he can teach his calm and cool presence, besides bunting to our pitchers.

    • sjm308 - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:18 AM

      Just the bunting would be great. I am guessing there are rules about how many coaches you can have in the dugout or bullpen so I am also guessing that this is just for spring training or that he becomes one of those roving coaches I read about.

      I realize the next gentleman I will be talking about is not a fan favorite and I don’t think he has lent himself to teaching anyone on the staff, BUT, one thing I do like about Soriano is how he does not let anything bother him. I think its a vast different between he and Storen (& even Clip), when someone gets a hit or walks. He just takes the ball and his next windup is with the same emotion as that last. I also think its something he has learned through the years and it actually helps him as a closer. I don’t think I have seen him upset or at least demonstrate that outworldly during a game. That is really what a calm & cool presence is, at least to me. Again, I realize he is not a favorite but he is our closer in this magical year.

      One more thing about Livo. Does anyone know if his troubles with the “bad guy” from I think it was PR are over. Wasn’t he implicated in some money laundering scheme involving fancy cars? Hope that has all gone away.
      I loved Livan and his 58 mph slop even more then watching Henry throw 101 and then come back with 85. It was fun to sit in the stands and yell, “here it comes” and then watch as the hitter swung twice before the ball got there.

      Go Nats!!

  3. nats128 - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    This is great news. I wish the Nats could have snagged Brian Schneider also. I think he accepted a job as a Marlins minor league coach.

    Livan and Schneider as the Opening Day battery will always be one of my best memories of the Nats.

  4. Candide - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    Two of my favorite memories of Livo as a Nat:

    1) Dropping a picture-perfect sacrifice bunt down the first base line, and looking over his shoulder to admire it as he jogged down to first. Yeah, there are other pitchers who can execute a sacrifice bunt, but how many of them make you laugh and applaud when they do it?

    2) And then there was this: http://m.mlb.com/video/v11845443/nymwsh-livan-nabs-dickey-trying-to-take-third

    You got hitting coaches, pitching coaches, bullpen coaches. How about a “How To Play The Game” coach?

  5. Candide - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    If someone who’s not a Facebook friend can bring this picture up, let me know, and I’ll put up the rest of my NatsFest shots. This is Mattheus, TyMo, and Livo.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=805466292812394&set=a.805465006145856.1073741848.100000470932702&type=3&theater

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:40 AM

      If I understand your question correctly, I’m not a ‘friend’ of yours on Facebook (no offense), but I was indeed able to click on the link and view the picture.

    • natsfan1a - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:48 AM

      I was able to click and view and I’m not even on Facebook.

      • Doc - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        Me too!

        Great picture, by the way.

      • Doc - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        Me too!

        Great picture, by the way.

    • Candide - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      Okay – I’ve made the whole album public (I think), so everyone should be able to see everything, including a couple of shots with the lovely Cunegonde towards the end.

      Here’s the album link: https://www.facebook.com/bernie.gilbert.7/media_set?set=a.805465006145856.1073741848.100000470932702&type=3

      • sjm308 - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:56 AM

        GREAT PICTURES! thanks for that & I will understand if you deny my request but I like your humor.

      • natsfan1a - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:15 AM

        Access denied for me, but that’s probably because I’m not on Facebook, so no worries.

      • Candide - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:29 AM

        sjm, why would I want to deny your request? Just be aware that I post a LOT of stuff on FB that has to do with politics, current events, and social issues, and my opinions about them. Shockingly, some people do not share all my opinions, nor I theirs, the difference being that I don’t unfriend people because of their political opinions unless those opinions include murdering their opponents…

      • Candide - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:30 AM

        natsfan, that seems strange, because you were able to see the single photo. Maybe I’ll have to go in and make each individual photo “public.”

      • natsfan1a - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:36 AM

        Yes, I could see the single photo but access was denied when I clicked on the other link. In addition to denying access, there was a phrase inviting me to join Facebook, which is why I figured access was denied because I’m not on Facebook. But truly, you needn’t go to any trouble attempting to tweak settings on my behalf.

        Candide – Jan 26, 2014 at 11:30 AM

        natsfan, that seems strange, because you were able to see the single photo. Maybe I’ll have to go in and make each individual photo “public.”

      • zmunchkin - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:05 PM

        The issue may be how you have shared the album. See this link for some options

        http://webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/13485/limit-access-to-certain-facebook-photo-albums

        I don’t use FB to organize my photos so I don’t have any albums (that I am aware of) to test with.

        I did notice however that when I was logged into FB, both the link to the single photo and to the album worked. I logged out of FB to test, and only the link to the single picture worked. The album one said the content was unavailable.

      • Sonny G 10 - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:58 PM

        Thanks for the pictures, Candide. I’m on Facebook, so I was able to see all including the lovely Cunegonde. Although I’m on Facebook, I don’t often log in. One reason for that is that I just don’t know my way around inside Facebook.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Jan 26, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        thanks Candide! much appreciated! great clicks!

  6. David Proctor - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    Zach Walters:

    His time up in September did teach him some valuable lessons. “Yeah, that’s if [Jayson] Werth asks you to do something, you make sure you do that and then more,” Walters joked. ”

    Haha, he learned quickly.

    • nats128 - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      Walters made another great comment after a game about Werth. I cant recall it but it was good.

      • Steady Eddie - Jan 26, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        It was something like (about Walters’ lime green shoelaces) “Cool shoelaces. Lose ‘em.”

  7. nats128 - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    Go on to Instagram and on the search function put in the tag #NatsFest and there are 100s of cool photos and videos. You can do the same on Twitter

  8. David Proctor - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    Also, FWIW, Fister seemed pretty certain that they’d settle.

    “We both want to settle,” Fister said. “It’s one of those things that nobody ever wants to go to arbitration, so we’re looking to see what we can do. At this point, we’ll see what kind of plays out.”

    “Yeah, we don’t want to,” Fister said. “You never want to start off (that way) or have that problem. So I’m sure there’s going to be something we’ll be fine with.”

    Clippard, on the other hand, called the process “enjoyable.”

  9. David Proctor - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    And to anyone who missed out on Mark Lerner’s interview yesterday on 106.7, he said they’ve painted the concourses at Nationals Park red. So it’s going to be very…bright.

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