With the Nationals in need of spots in their rotation for Tom Milone, Stephen Strasburg, Ross Detwiler and potentially Brad Peacock, the casualty is Hernandez. The Nationals already know exactly what they will get from Hernandez. They want to know what else they have.
“He’s done it 50,000-plus times,” Johnson said. “He has nothing to prove. He’s had a good year. We need some of these guys that don’t have the innings a chance so we can give them some experience at the major league level and see where we’re at.”
Hernandez, 36, is 8-12 with a 4.29 ERA in 170 innings this season. On Tuesday, Hernandez threw the 50,000th pitch of his career in a 9-2 Nationals win, their only victory in their past 10 games.
Hernandez said he wants to pitch for the Nationals next season, and he would pitch as a long reliever if necessary because he likes the organization so much. The Nationals’ decision to shut him down will not affect Hernandez’s desire to stay with Washington.
Johnson did rule out Hernandez pitching again this season. “I’m never going to say I’ll never do something,” Johnson said.
But it’s possible Hernandez will pitch for the final time with the Nationals on Sunday. Hernandez threw the first pitch in team history in 2005 and also the first pitch in Washington after baseball returned. He is the team’s all-time leader in wins (44), innings (823 1/ 3) and strikeouts (475).
Last year in late August, Hernandez signed a one-year, $1 million deal. His contributions this season based on wins above replacement, according to FanGraphs.com, have been worth $9.4 million.