CLEVELAND -- It was immediately clear that something was wrong with Indians starter Roberto Hernandez after he fired a changeup to Oakland's Seth Smith in the third inning of the Tribe's 3-0 loss on Monday night.
Following the pitch, Hernandez motioned with his glove for Cleveland catcher Lou Marson to head to the mound. Moments later, Hernandez was heading off the field alongside a trainer due to a sprained right ankle, bringing a premature end to the pitcher's first home start of this season. The Indians said Hernandez is day to day.
Indians manager Manny Acta noted that head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff does not believe the injury is serious.
"Lonnie doesn't think it's too bad," Acta said. "He was looking at him after he came out of the game. He feels that it's nothing major, but at that point, [Hernandez] felt that it was bothering him to push off the rubber.
"We'll see how he is [on Tuesday], but we're not anticipating anything lengthy."
Acta said it was too early to know if Hernandez would need to miss a start.
"I don't think we can assess that [right now]," Acta said. "We've got five days."
The 1-1 offering to Smith -- the 68th pitch of the game for Hernandez -- marred his return to the Progressive Field mound after months of legal woes. Hernandez had made two previous starts this year for the Indians, but this was Cleveland's first look at the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona.
Hernandez finished with 2 1/3 innings and was charged with three runs on four hits in his abbreviated effort. The right-hander exited with the A's holding a 2-0 lead, but Oakland tacked on another run following his departure. That third run came via an RBI single from Chris Carter against Tribe lefty Chris Seddon.
Acta said Hernandez hurt his ankle while running to back up home plate when Yoenis Cespedes doubled with one out and a runner on first base in the third.
Hernandez, who went 7-15 with a 5.25 ERA for the Indians last year, entered the night with two losses in his first two outings of the season. His performance on Monday increased his season ERA to 7.53 through 14 1/3 innings.
On Jan. 19, Hernandez was arrested outside the United States consulate in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on charges of using a false identity. The charges were later dropped in favor of having Hernandez perform community service, and he eventually regained a working visa in order to return to the U.S. to pitch for Cleveland.