Hernandez Finally Gets His Chance

Reliever Yoel Hernandez has been waiting for a shot at pitching in the majors. Last season, injuries put him on a detour that has finally landed in Philadelphia.

Yoel Hernandez was the Phillies' top relief pitching prospect before last season began. He even nearly made the team before getting sent down during the last week of spring training.

But it all came apart last season.

Hernandez, a right-handed reliever, strained his right shoulder last May and was sidelined for the rest of the season before being taken off the 40-man roster this spring.

"It was like a black cloud was over me," Hernandez said.

But, on Friday, the Phillies purchased Hernandez's contract and called him up from Triple-A Ottawa after placing right-handed reliever Tom Gordon (right shoulder inflammation) on the disabled list. Hernandez had a 3.68 ERA, three saves and a streak of 6 1/3 scoreless innings for Ottawa.

"I didn't know what to do, cry or laugh," Hernandez said. "It's a very exciting time."

News and Notes:

  • Ryan Howard was out at home plate in the sixth inning Friday night on a superb relay throw by San Francisco Giants 2B Kevin Frandsen. But Howard has been nursing a sore right leg, so third base coach Steve Smith's decision to wave him home was questioned. "It comes down to judgment," manager Charlie Manuel said. "(Center fielder) Dave Roberts doesn't have a good arm. The second baseman made a hell of a throw." Asked if Howard is still hampered by a strained ligament in his left leg, Manuel said, "It could be bothering him still. I've seen him run better."
  • Cole Hamels recalls the hype when the Phillies called him up last May. He was so highly touted that he held a press conference before he threw a pitch. So Hamels can relate to what San Francisco Giants RHP Tim Lincecum will go through this weekend. Lincecum, the Giants' number one pick, is expected to make his major-league debut Sunday night in an ESPN-televised game. Hamels will start for the Phillies. "It's a little intimidating at first," Hamels said. "You want to prove that you're almost allowed to go out and speak on your own behalf; that you're worth all the attention."
  • Brett Myers was installed as the Phillies' setup man April 18. Now that he will be filling in for injured closer Tom Gordon, who will be the setup man? Manager Charlie Manuel said the seventh and eighth innings will again become the responsibility of Antonio Alfonseca and Ryan Madson.
  • RF Shane Victorino returned to the starting lineup Friday night after being lifted in the fifth inning Thursday night because of tightness in his back. Neither Victorino nor manager Charlie Manuel were concerned about the injury and said he was taken out for precautionary reasons. Victorino proved his back was fine by barreling over San Francisco Giants C Bengie Molina to score on 1B Ryan Howard's sacrifice fly to medium-depth left field in the first inning.
  • The numbers game: 25 As in consecutive stolen bases by Jimmy Rollins dating to last season, before he was caught May 1. It was the longest active streak in the majors.

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