The team announced Tuesday that Hernandez will start for Class A Lake County on Thursday night, when the team plays West Michigan. Hernandez, formerly Fausto Carmona, last pitched for the Indians on Sept. 25, 2011. He returned to the U.S. on Sunday after spending six months in his native Dominican Republic following his arrest Jan. 19 for using a false name.
Indians manager Manny Acta said Hernandez will pitch four to five innings at Lake County, not to exceed 75 pitches. He had worked up to five innings and 75 pitches while pitching in D.R., but the atmosphere was more relaxed than it is in the Minor Leagues.
"We're going to see his stuff, stamina and where he's at right now," Acta said.
Acta said the team plans to have Hernandez pitch every five days until his three-week suspension ends on Aug. 11. As for what he expects from his former All-Star pitcher, Acta isn't so sure.
"We have to play it by ear," Acta said. "I'm sure if he throws the ball around the plate, he's going to be able to do OK. But I've seen so many guys go on rehab assignments and just get lit up by those kids, because guys are trying to work themselves into shape and throw strikes, and those kids are just hacking. It's not like I'm expecting him to go no-hit for four innings or anything."