Hernandez learns ropes ahead of activation

D-backs rookie catcher traveling with team while on DL

Hernandez learns ropes ahead of activation

LOS ANGELES -- It will still be at least a few weeks before injured catcher Oscar Hernandez returns from the disabled list, but he has begun traveling with the team.

The thinking is to get the Rule 5 pick acclimated to big league travel, participate in pitcher-catcher pregame meetings and help catch starters' between-start bullpen sessions.

"They want me to be used to this a little bit, because this is all new for me," Hernandez said. "For me it's good to travel about the team because I can get a better feel in person. It's not the same when you watch the game on TV."

Hernandez was selected from the Rays organization in last year's Rule 5 Draft and must remain in the big leagues throughout the 2015 season or be offered back to Tampa Bay. During Spring Training, Hernandez injured his left hamate bone, which required surgery.

"I think the biggest thing is to experience these different stadiums, watch what's going on, be involved in the pitcher-catcher meetings, be involved in creating a gameplan, having a say in it," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "It's going to be very important, because when he does come back we're going to need him to hit the ground running."

After his injury this spring, Hernandez would travel to away Spring Training games just to sit in the dugout and take notes on pitchers in preparation for his return.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.