Mets add to pitching options
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Livan Hernandez and the New York Mets agreed to a minor league contract Saturday, giving the team another pitcher who could compete for the final rotation spot during spring training.
"I think we are pretty much set and we're going to go forward with the guys that we have," Minaya said.
Hernandez was 13-11 with a 6.05 ERA in 31 combined starts for Minnesota and Colorado last season, his 13th in the major leagues. The durable right-hander has long been a favorite of Minaya, who traded for Hernandez when he was running the Montreal Expos.
"I just feel that we need to have numbers. I think you guys know my philosophy on this: You just never have enough pitching, and starting pitching," Minaya said. "Livan can give you innings, he can pitch in different roles."
If added to the 40-man roster, Hernandez would get a $1 million salary with a chance to earn an additional $1 million in performance bonuses based on innings, starts and appearances.
The 1997 NLCS and World Series MVP with Florida, he is the half-brother of former Mets pitcher Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez.
Competition for the No. 5 slot in New York's rotation also is expected to include right-hander Tim Redding, young lefty Jon Niese and former All-Star Freddy Garcia, another veteran in camp on a minor league contract.
"That particular spot is basically wide open," manager Jerry Manuel said.
Livan Hernandez is expected to arrive Sunday.
"We have a lot of options," Minaya said, adding that Hernandez is healthy. "I always tell myself, don't go into the year with six guys, go into the year with eight to 10 options available. And then if you do that, you'll be fine."
Minaya said the move also helps the club's "inventory" during spring training. The Mets might send four pitchers to the World Baseball Classic: Oliver Perez, Francisco Rodriguez, J.J. Putz and Pedro Feliciano.
When he was GM of the Expos, Minaya pulled off a trade with San Francisco for Hernandez before the 2003 season and watched as the right-hander put together a pair of solid years in Montreal.
Minaya also said he nearly completed a deal with Washington for Hernandez at the 2006 trade deadline, but backed off when he got the opportunity to acquire Perez and Roberto Hernandez from Pittsburgh.
Livan Hernandez has a career record of 147-139 with a 4.37 ERA and 1,613 strikeouts in 382 games, including one relief appearance. He has made at least 30 starts 11 times.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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