ANAHEIM -- After seven months of dealing with legal issues, serving a suspension and rehabbing in the Minors, Indians pitcher Roberto Hernandez will make his first start without "Carmona" on his back on Wednesday against the Angels.
Hernandez's story has been well-documented. Then using the name Fausto Carmona, he was arrested outside the U.S. consulate in the Dominican Republic in January for identity fraud, prohibited from returning to the United States until he obtained a visa on July 21, and forced into revealing his true age (31), name and story.
But after four Minor League rehab starts, Hernandez is ready to take the mound for Cleveland Wednesday. While his name has changed, Hernandez will still wear No. 55, and he hopes to show the same kind of form that made him a 19-game winner in 2007 and a crucial component of the Cleveland rotation in the years since.
"I expect him to go out there and not try to do too much," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. "I'm sure he's going to have some kind of butterflies, even if he's been out there a ton of times, but he's never been out there at this time of the year for his first outing."
For all the off-field intrigue surrounding his return, Acta said the team's approach to Hernandez's first start is simple.
"[We'll] turn him loose," Acta said. "He'll be out there as long as the Angels allow him to be."