Hernandez out of starts, may pitch in relief

Hernandez out of starts, may pitch in relief

Hernandez out of starts, may pitch in relief
CLEVELAND -- Right-hander Roberto Hernandez will not make another start for the Indians this season, but there is still a chance that he could appear in one of the team's final few games out of the bullpen.

On Saturday, interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said Hernandez's right ankle issue is improving, but there is still a risk of aggravating injury. Under the circumstances, Alomar indicated he would try to find a "no-stress situation" for Hernandez to work.

"There's a possibility that he might come out of the bullpen," Alomar said. "It's mostly for peace of mind for himself. He could pitch or just shut it down, either way. We're still evaluating the situation."

The 32-year-old Hernandez sprained his ankle in the third inning of his outing against the A's on Aug. 27, and he has only pitched off the mound a handful of times since the injury. In three appearances this season, Hernandez has gone 0-3 with a 7.53 ERA for Cleveland.

This winter, Cleveland will have to decide between picking up Hernandez's $6 million club option for 2013 or allowing him to become a free agent.

For now, the Indians are only worrying about keeping the pitcher healthy.

"He's moving around better," Alomar said. "We're just concerned if he has to cover first base, or go after a bunt. [We don't want him] in a position [to face] the part of the lineup of the opposition with guys that are bunters, where he'd have stress.

"We'll try to put him in a position that he can succeed, so he can gain confidence."