Fausto Carmona isn't making his grand return. Roberto Hernandez is making his grand entry.
News broke late Saturday afternoon that Roberto Hernandez Heredia, formerly Fausto Carmona, was granted his U.S. visa from the Consulate. He has been cleared by all the proper channels and is on his way to Cleveland.
In addition to being granted his return to the United States, he is being welcomed with a three week suspension from Major League Baseball, likely for defrauding the institution and making everyone involved in the process look incredibly bad. There is no doubt that the Indians restructering of Hernandez's contract had something to do with the lenght of the suspens, as Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly Leo Nunez) received an eight-week suspension. But there is no way for Hernandez to have avoided some sort of punishment for his crimes.
Now it will be time for Hernandez to come in and begin to mend the fences. With the fans, with the organization, with his teammates and coaches, with baseball, with himself. He has a lot to prove now that he is essentially a new pitcher, a new person.
The suspension might as well be an excuse for the Indians to build Hernandez up. While he was staying sharp and throwing to some members of the Indians academy in his native Domincan Republic, there is nothing to simulate live game action. In addition there is nothing to simulate live game action against major league pitching, but he'll need to take one step at a time. You can bet that he will be headed to Goodyear to get checked out and probably worked into a routine before the Indians send him out to a minor league affiliate. Assuming this suspension is like any other, Hernandez should be good to go in pitching for the minor leagues seeing as how Manny Ramirez played for the Sacramento River Cats prior to the completion of his suspension.
As a part of his restructured deal, Hernandez had to give up nearly $7.5 million in possible salary. Hernandez will return at a point in which he is unlikely to reach any of the new incentive platforms in his contract. He needs at least 20 starts, 150 innings, and 95 days on the roster in order to earn any sort of bonus, all highly unlikely given his return date, if he even returns in August and starts from the outset.
One thing is for sure, this move will have a significant impact on the Indians and their approach to the upcoming trade deadline. Knowing they have some reinforcements in the form of Hernandez, they may decided that a move for a starting pitcher is no longer needed. But can the Indians make it 20 more days? Can they really srurive with their five starters until then? Who's to say Hernandez is even going to be an answer?
Whatever the case may be, the granting of a visa ends the long saga for Hernandez to return to the Indians and brings a surprising conclusion to the situation. While it took Miami's Juan Carlos Oviedo a significant amount of time to return, as well as a longer suspension, Hernandez got back in less than seven months and will likely pitch before Oviedo due to a recent injury. If anything, he should consider himself lucky and thank his organization for not only working diligently to get him back, but sticking by him and now giving him another opportunity.
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