CLEVELAND -- The wait is nearly over. After seven months of dealing with and overcoming legal issues, right-hander Roberto Hernandez is on the verge of officially rejoining the Indians' rotation.
On Saturday, Indians manager Manny Acta announced that Hernandez is scheduled to be activated prior to starting Wednesday's road game against the Angels. The pitcher made his final Minor League rehab appearance for Triple-A Columbus on Friday.
"We liked what we saw," Acta said. "He's ready to go."
In his fourth and final Minor League outing, Hernandez allowed one run on four hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked one in the 100-pitch performance. The pitcher made two starts for Columbus and two for Class A Lake County during his comeback from legal woes.
Hernandez was arrested on Jan. 19 outside the United States consulate in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, after it was discovered that he had been pitching under a false name (Fausto Carmona). The charges were later dropped in exchange for community service, and Hernandez returned to the U.S. with a new visa on July 21.
Major League Baseball hit Hernandez with a three-week suspension, but that is now complete, and he became eligible to be reinstated from the restricted list on Saturday. The Indians' plan, however, is to wait to activate Hernandez until he is needed for the start on Wednesday.
"It makes no sense for us to activate him now," Acta said. "It buys us a couple more days so we can make a decision with the rest of the guys, especially our bullpen. We'll probably need a day or so to get it completely in order and rested."
Hernandez, 31, went 7-15 with a 5.25 ERA last season, when he began the year as Cleveland's Opening Day starter. His best season came in 2007, when he went 19-8 with a 3.06 ERA to help the Indians reach the playoffs. Over parts of six seasons with the Tribe, the righty has gone 53-66 with a 4.59 ERA in 181 games.
In his four Minor League starts, Hernandez posted a 4.07 ERA with 20 strikeouts against four walks over 24 1/3 innings. Hernandez's last outing convinced Cleveland he was ready to return.
"They liked the way he threw the ball down there," Acta said. "He attacked hitters. It was obviously better competition than being in Lake County, and he was able to go seven strong innings."