MIAMI — Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez walked away from Class AA Harrisburg yesterday, abruptly ending his season without returning to the major leagues.
According to the Patriot-News, Hernandez left the Senators in part because he hadn't yet received an opportunity to be promoted to the Nationals' roster. The Nats signed the 44-year-old right-hander and half-brother of Livan Hernandez to a minor-league contract last month with the understanding he'd be considered for a spot in the bullpen based on his performance. In six appearances with Harrisburg, he went 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA.
Hernandez's signing also was a factor in the Nationals' signing of Cuban right-hander Yunesky Maya to a four-year contract.
UPDATE AT 5:17 P.M. — Mike Rizzo said "El Duque" asked him if he'd be getting a September call-up, and when the GM informed him he wouldn't, the pitcher decided to leave the club.
"His expectation was to be a September call-up," Rizzo said. "And just with the roster spot we're in and the additional guys we're going to put on the roster, it was just something I felt wasn't warranted at this time. ...
"He asked me directly: 'Will I be a September call-up?' and I said, 'No, but we want you to finish out the season.' And he said, 'No, I'm not going to.'"