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Cleveland Indians pitcher Roberto Hernandez seems to be rounding into shape after completing his fourth minor-league start. Pitching for the AAA Columbus Clippers on Friday against the Indianapolis Indians, Hernandez lasted seven innings and only gave up four hits and one earned run, striking out five.
With his league-mandated, three-week suspension ending on Saturday, Hernandez could be called up sooner rather than later. Speaking to the Columbus Dispatch, Clippers manager Mike Sarbaugh sounded positive about his chances:
"He looked very good tonight," Sarbaugh said. "He looks ready to go to me. I thought his fastball had good sink and good life to it. It was night and day from his last outing."
Through four minor-league starts, split evenly between the Clippers and the Class A Lake County Captains, Hernandez has an ERA of 4.07 and 20 strikeouts in 24.1 innings pitched.
Indians pitcher Roberto Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, has received his visa from the U.S. Consulate in the Dominican Republic and will arrive in Cleveland on Saturday, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. His visa was originally approved on Monday, but had to receive clearance from the Department of Homeland Security.
According to Stephen Payne, a visa expert who has been working with Hernandez's agents, the pitcher will serve an MLB-mandated three-week suspension before returning to the Indians. Hernandez is eligible to return on Aug. 11. How soon he will move back into the lineup is still in the air, according to the report:
It will probably take that much time for Hernandez to get back in pitching shape. He has been throwing simulated games at the Indians baseball academy in the Dominican.
"I do know Roberto will be playing baseball for the Cleveland Indians -- if he's physically ready -- sometime in August," said Payne.
Hernandez will likely spend a stint of three or four starts in the minor leagues before returning to the majors.
The Cleveland Indians are hopeful that right-handed pitcher Roberto Hernandez will be receiving a new visa, which would allow him to return to the United States, according to a report from MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
Hernandez was arrested in the Dominican Republic in Jan. for using the false name Fausto Carmona.
"Things are moving forward," said a person with knowledge of the situation. "It's looking a lot better right now."
The Indians have actively been trying to help bring Hernandez back to the country by petitioning the state department and hiring the services of visa expert, Stephen Payne.
With the visa issue on the up-swing, the only issue remaining is a possible suspension from the MLB. In a similar case, Miami Marlins pitcher Juan Carlos Oviedo received an eight-week suspension from the league. However, the Indians are hopeful that Hernandez won't meet the same fate.
"Our understanding at this point," Antonetti said last month, "is that, because he's restructured his contract, there won't be an additional suspension required. That could change, but that's the guidance we've been given at this point. There are just aren't any absolutes."
Roberto Hernandez Heredia's -- formerly Fausto Carmona's -- strange saga of identity theft in his home country of the Dominican Republic could be coming to something of a close by baseball's All-Star Break if all goes well with a lobbyist that Hernandez has hired to try and get him back on the Cleveland Indians.
A lobbyist working on behalf of Roberto Hernandez, the Indians pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona, said he could be back in the United States by the All-Star break.
"I think there is a good chance Roberto could be in Cleveland by the All-Star break," said Stephen Payne, a visa expert and lobbyist hired by Hernandez’s agents.
A possible suspension of Hernandez thanks to the incident doesn't appear to be in the cards, with the Indians saying that the fact that he was given a sizable pay cut -- in part due to the fact that he lied about his age and claimed he was three years younger than he actually is -- should be a suitable punishment.
The Indians have petitioned the U.S. State Department that the salary cut should serve as punishment enough. It’s believed MLB and the players association feels the same.
It's not really a necessity for the Indians to get Hernandez back as he was never one of their top players, but as they look to make a run for the AL Central title this year they can use all the help they can get.
The Cleveland Indians have been in close contact with pitcher Roberto Hernandez, formerly known as Fausta Carmona, throughout his lengthy legal proceeding in the Dominican Republican stemming from false identity charges.
Hernandez is completing a work program in the Dominican Republic as part of a deal to have charges dropped while he continues to deal with visa problems. According to General Manager Chris Antonetti, the Indians have set up a throwing program for Hernandez similar to what their pitchers are doing in spring training camp. Via Jordan Bastian of MLB.com:
"As best we can, we've tried to simulate a Spring Training environment for him down there," Antonetti said. "So, if and when we get clarity about his status, and he's able to travel to the United States, he hopefully won't be too far behind."
Hernandez was the opening day starter for Cleveland last season and will certainly be in the back end of the Indians rotation if and when he returns to the club. Last season, Hernandez started 32 games for the Indians, registering an ERA of 5.25. He has sent tape of his throwing sessions to manager Manny Acta.
"If he didn't have this issue, he would've been in our rotation," Acta said. "So I don't think any of this changes the plans. It's him getting over here, showing us that he is in good enough shape to compete and then we'll go from there."
The Cleveland Indians and Roberto Hernandez Heredia, also known as Fausto Carmona (which is now ... a nickname, maybe?), are in a weird situation. Well, for Carmona, it's a weird situation, seeing as he's the one who just had to deal with false identity charges from the Dominican Republic. For the Indians, it mostly just means they've got contract leverage on a player who isn't necessarily integral to the team's success in 2012.
Leverage, in this case, is definitely justified. After all, the team was set to pay $7 million to a player who misrepresented his entire identity, including name and age. If you can't have trust, then there's not really a healthy business relationship to look forward to. That being said, he's a talented player and the Indians don't want to just cut him outright.
And they won't, as Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports on Twitter, saying that the Indians have restructured Carmona's contract, with a particular emphasis on that $7 million salary for 2012. There are $9 million and $14 million options for 2013 and 2014, and according to Heyman, one of those options was dropped.
There's no word on how much less he'll be making, but Carmona is walking on thin ice - with the team and with the Dominican Republic government. His charges have been dropped, but he has to complete a work program and likely fulfill some other obligations in that regard. Still, it's good to see that the team got something worked out through all of this, as opposed to cutting him outright.
The Associated Press, by the way of ESPN, is reporting that the false identity charges against Roberto Hernandez Heredia, formerly and famously known as Fausto Carmona, have been dropped by the Dominican Republic prosecutors. The charges are being dropped as a condition of the Cleveland Indians pitcher completing a work program in his Caribbean homeland.
Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said the team is monitoring "the developments related to Roberto's return to the United States and remain in touch with his representatives."
"We are not able to elaborate beyond that at this point," he said in an email.Carmona is due to make $7 million this year, and the Indians hold options for 2013 at $9 million and 2014 at $12 million.
Hernandez Heredia is 31-years-old, three years older than people thought he was as Carmona. Immigration issues are likely to keep Hernandez out of the United States for awhile, but the Indians are doing everything they can to speed up that process.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that pitcher Roberto Hernandez Heredia, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, is seeking a judicial pardon and hopes to return to the Cleveland Indians this season.
Hernandez landed on Major League Baseball’s “restricted list” after being arrested in January in the Dominican Republic on false identity charges. The AP does not elaborate on the arrest, but does say that Hernadez Heredia’s age was at issue: Authorities assert that he is 31, which is three years older than Hernandez claimed.
The article quotes Hernandez saying:
I’m doing all that is necessary so that when the pardon is granted, I won’t have to wait long to play again.
Hernandez Heredia’s agent is quoted saying he expects the pitcher to play this season.
In 2011 Hernandez Heredia started 32 games, going 7-15 and recording a 5.25 ERA. He was expected to be a starter for Cleveland this season, with the Indians exercising his $7 million last October.
Hernandez Heredia signed a four-year deal in 2008. The team has options on him for 2013 ($9 million) and 2014 ($12 million).
Lending some validity to the reports that Fausto Carmona may not be available for spring training, the Cleveland Indians placed him on the restricted list on Wednesday, according to the official MLB Transactions page. Placing a player on the restricted list allows a team to retain rights for a player who is out of baseball for any reason. Perhaps a player retires early when he still seems as though he can come back, or perhaps a player happens to be using a fake identity to hide his age and play baseball in the United States. It works for all of that.
Carmona, or Roberto Hernandez Heredia, has less than a month to get things sorted out before pitchers have to report to spring training. It's unclear what the Indians are going to do with Carmona in the end, but placing him on the restricted list means that he doesn't count towards the 25-man or 40-man roster, doesn't receive pay and isn't allowed to sign with another team. The move probably signifies that Carmona is going to be with the team this season at this point.
Baseball fans, and especially Indians fans, know Fausto Carmona as, well, you know, Fausto Carmona. Since his arrest for alleged identity fraud, though, we've learned the Fausto Carmona we're familiar with is really Roberto Hernandez Heredia. If you're wondering how Heredia's grand scheme was foiled, Larry Brown Sports has the rundown:
Pedro Gomez reported on Outside the Lines Friday that the real Fausto Carmona’s mother went on a popular radio show in the Dominican Republic and outed fake Fausto Carmona. The U.S. government began investigating after the radio appearance. When fake Fausto went to apply for a visa, he was arrested.
So why did real Fausto’s mother out the fake Fausto? Because of a monetary dispute.
Gomez says the Carmona family wanted a pay raise when they learned the pitcher was going to receive a salary bump. When fake Fausto balked, the mother outed him, leading to his arrest.
All for an extra two years and a cooler name?
Though there's still probably a lot of information out there regarding Fausto Carmona - or Roberto Hernandez Heredia - that we don't know, it looks like things are getting a little better for him. The Associated Press is reporting that Carmona has been released following his arrest for using a false identity to play baseball in the United States. Carmona had what was described as a tearful apology for his fans, among others:
"I ask for the forgiveness of my fans, the government of the United States and the Cleveland Indians for this situation," he said upon leaving the court, where a judge released him on bail of about $13,000.
Carmona still has a way to go to figure out what his future is, but if the similar case of Leo Nunez and his arrest relating to false identity is any indication, Carmona could be be back to playing just fine if he cooperates. Carmona was arrested on Thursday outside the U.S. consulate in the Dominican Republic, as he was there getting his visa renewed. He is actually 31 years-old, three years older than he had claimed.
He's scheduled to make $7 million in 2012. More should be known when Carmona hosts a news conference, but it's not known when that will happen.
As you have probably been made aware of by now, Cleveland Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona was arrested in the Dominican Republic while leaving an American consulate, where he was going to renew his visa so he could return to the U.S. for Spring Training. Carmona was arrested for allegedly using a false identity, the reports indicating that Carmona is really Roberto Hernandez Heredia, age 31, not 28.
The Cleveland Indians have obviously heard about the arrest, but did not have much else to say. With exactly a month before pitchers report, the Indians now have little time to decide what to do with the pitcher who won 19 games in 2007 and was retained for 2012 at $7 million. MLB.com's Jordan Bastian goes through the team's potential upcoming course of action(s):
One possibility for the Tribe is to place Carmona, whose $7 million club option for 2012 was picked up on Oct. 31, on Major League Baseball's restricted list until the situation is resolved. Players on the restricted list do not count toward a team's 25-man or 40-man roster, do not receive pay and are not permitted to sign with another club.
That was the route the Marlins took when dealing with a similar situation. [...]Right now, it is not known if the Indians would simply be able to void Carmona's contract, or if the club would go down that route if allowed.
That "similar situation" is what the Marlins are still dealing with. Leo Nunez/Juan Carlos Oviedo, who the Marlins just signed to a $6 millon contract to avoid arbitration, is still sorting out his visa issues four months later. That should give you an idea about Carmona's status going forward.
Earlier today, it was reported that Fausto Carmona was arrested in the Dominican Republic as he was leaving an American consulate after renewing his visa. It's believed that he was arrested for providing a false identity. The same reports indicate that Fausto Carmona is the false identity and the pitcher's real name is actually Roberto Hernandez Heredia. Carmona was believed to be only 28 years old, but this Heredia gentleman is 31.
Of course, as it has been in the past with other professional baseball players caught fabricating their age while assuming a different name, this is fairly big news that has totally blindsided the Cleveland Indians:
"We were recently made aware of the situation that occurred today in the Dominican Republic," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said in a statement, "and are currently in the process of gathering information. We are not prepared to make any additional comment at this time."
Cleveland Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona has been arrested in the Domincan Republic for using a false identity.
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