Indians GM talks Roberto Hernandez
NEW YORK -- Cleveland Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said he doesn't think the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona will face the same eight-week suspension that Miami reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo received for age and identity fraud when he was allowed to return to the United States.
Roberto Hernandez has been on the restricted list since last winter when he was arrested in the Dominican Republic for false identity charges. He was cleared of those charges in February after completing a work program. Hernandez's contract was reworked for a lower salary at the Indians' request, but Hernandez still awaits a visa.
"Our understanding at this point is because Roberto restructured his contract, there won't be an additional suspension required," Antonetti said Tuesday before the Indians played the New York Yankees. "That's the guidance we've been given at this point. There are just no absolutes."
Manager Manny Acta said Hernandez is pitching simulated games at the team's complex in the Dominican Republic. The Indians have videotaped his progress and Antonetti said Hernandez is going to increase his pitch count to 75-90 soon.
"He's anxious to come up here and be part of it," Acta said. "We are expecting him to come up here sooner rather than later."
Hernandez was arrested on Jan. 19 outside the U.S. consulate in Santo Domingo, where officials discovered his name was not Carmona -- the name the Indians signed him under in 2000 -- and that he was 31 years old, not 28.
Hernandez has applied for a visa to rejoin the Indians. It's not known if the application has been reviewed by U.S. authorities.
Asked how difficult it's been for Hernandez, Acta, who's been in frequent contact with the pitcher, said: "I know it must have been hard to carry that burden."
Oviedo admitted in September to playing under the false name Leo Nunez since 2000 and was suspended eight weeks by Major League Baseball after receiving his visa in late May. He'll be eligible to rejoin the Marlins on July 23.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press