Those who were planning to wish New York Yankees pitcher Orlando Hernandez a happy 30th birthday today may be too late--by four years.

Hernandez, whose nickname is "El Duque," has said he was born on Oct. 11, 1969. But court documents filed in Havana in connection to his divorce say he was born in 1965, New York magazine reports in its Oct. 18 issue, on newsstands today.

That would mean Hernandez turns 34 today.

The divorce decree was filed in February 1997. A copy of the decree and an English translation recently came to light as part of a child-support case brought by Hernandez's former wife, Norma. The couple's 7 1/2-year marriage ended 10 months before Hernandez fled Cuba in December 1997.

Hernandez has acknowledged the legitimacy of the decree in court papers filed in Miami.

He was 17-9 with a 4.12 ERA this season with the Yankees, and was the winning pitcher Tuesday against the Texas Rangers in the opening game of the playoffs. . . .

Kerry Wood plans to pitch for the Chicago Cubs next season despite a dime-size hole in his heart.

The 22-year-old right-hander has atrial septal defect, which can cause a gradual weakening of the heart. The condition probably won't affect his career, but doctors said that it should be corrected.

Wood learned he had the condition when he became ill in February, just before spring training. Doctors at a hospital in Mesa, Ariz., discovered the hole in the wall separating the two upper chambers of his heart.

Doctors recommend the hole be closed at some point and Wood's doctors told him it would have to be fixed by the time he was 30 or 40, he told the Chicago Tribune. . . .

Armando Benitez, who nearly blew Game 4 of an NL playoff series for the New York Mets, will be fined for showing up only a half-hour before game time.

"You don't come late without a fine," Mets Manager Bobby Valentine said yesterday, a day after the Mets completed their first-round series win over Arizona. "There will be a fine, and we'll handle that internally." . . .

Recent Hall of Fame inductee George Brett, the Kansas City Royals' vice president of operations, is a candidate to replace Jim Leyland as manager of the Colorado Rockies, the Denver Post reported Saturday.

However, Dan O'Dowd, the Rockies' new general manager, said Cincinnati Reds director of player development Buddy Bell remains the top candidate to replace Leyland, who retired after the season.

Auto Racing

Race Postponed

A steady rain forced NASCAR officials to postpone the UAW-GM Quality 500 to 11 a.m. today. Hoping the weather might push through in time to run the race as scheduled at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., officials waited until two hours after the scheduled 1 p.m. start to make the call.


Former Player Arrested

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Melvin Johnson was arrested by Hillsborough County (Fla.) Sheriff deputies Saturday on felony drug charges. Johnson, 27, was charged with felony possession of marijuana and felony possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver.

Police found more than 30 grams of marijuana under a seat in Johnson's car, according to Sgt. Rodney Reder. Johnson played three seasons with Tampa Bay. He was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in 1998, but is no longer in the NFL.


U.S. Women Advance

The United States earned a spot in the six-team medal round at the women's gymnastics world championships in Tianjin, China. Vanessa Atler, the last American to compete, clinched the place with a 9.762 in the floor exercise.

It was the fifth-best score of the qualifying round in that event, and was enough to lift the Americans into fifth place, behind defending champion Romania, Russia, Ukraine and China. They also were safely into the top 12 that qualify for next year's Olympics in Sydney.

The medal round will be held Tuesday.


Cuban Baseball on View

The National Sports Gallery at MCI Center unveils its Cuban Baseball Exhibit on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. . . . NHL Breakout '99, a street and in-line hockey tournament, will be held Saturday and Sunday on Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 7th streets NW from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Washington Capitals players are expected to participate.


Hingis Wins Again

Top-ranked Martina Hingis captured her seventh title of the year when she beat Mary Pierce, 6-4, 6-1, in the Porsche Grand Prix in Filderstadt, Germany. Hingis also won the $520,000 indoor tournament in 1996, her first professional singles title, and in 1997. She needed just 65 minutes to earn this year's first prize, a convertible Porsche. . . .

Slovakia's Karol Kucera confiscated Tim Henman's Swiss Indoors crown, winning a dramatic, five-set final in Basel, Switzerland. Kucera fended off a formidable comeback effort by Britain's Henman, winning two tiebreakers to prevail, 6-4, 7-6 (12-10), 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), in four hours. . . .

Rain from a typhoon that hit southern China washed out the final of the Heineken Open between top-seeded Marcelo Rios of Chile and second-seeded Magnus Norman of Sweden. The final of the tournament, held in Shanghai, was rescheduled for today.