The Cleveland Indians might be getting the pitching help they need without having to trade for it.
Indians pitcher Roberto Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, was suspended for three weeks by Major League Baseball for age and identity fraud. Indians GM Chris Antonetti said Hernandez was issued a visa to return to the U.S. and that he would be eligible to rejoin the team Aug. 11.
Hernandez is scheduled to speak to reporters Sunday at Progressive Field, where the right-hander also will throw for the coaching staff.
Hernandez, who has been in the Dominican Republic since his arrest Jan. 19 for using a false name and age on his visa, might help a stagnant starting rotation. The Indians have a 4.59 ERA as a team, a mark that ranks 13th in the American League.
Derek Lowe has gone 2-6 with an 8.31 ERA in his past 10 starts, while Ubaldo Jimenez (8-9, 5.24 ERA) and Justin Masterson (6-8, 4.29) also have underperformed at the top of the rotation.
Although he went 7-15 with a 5.25 ERA last season, Hernandez has been a solid starter during his career in Cleveland. His best season came in 2007 when he went 19-8 with a 3.06 ERA.
Antonetti said Hernandez’s return is not going to alter their plans at the July 31 trade deadline. However, knowing that a healthy, re-energized Hernandez is returning puts the Tribe in a better position.