El Duque will try to make a comeback with the Texas Rangers.
Orlando Hernandez, who has been part of four World Series championship teams, agreed to a minor league contract Thursday with the Rangers. The right-hander is expected to join Triple-A Oklahoma City for workouts Sunday, and he could start pitching for the RedHawks soon after that.
Hernandez last pitched in the major leagues for the New York Mets in 2007, then had surgery on the second toe of his right foot. The Rangers considered Hernandez during the offseason and have a scout in the Miami area that has watched him throw several times this spring.
“We like what we’ve seen. He’s healthy. He’s throwing the ball well. He’s motivated to come back,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “He’s in great shape. … I just don’t know game shape. He has been throwing bullpens on his own.”
Daniels called it a low-risk move that could provide experienced depth in the rotation or the bullpen. Texas starters Brandon McCarthy (stress fracture in shoulder) and Matt Harrison (left-shoulder inflammation) are on the 15-day disabled list, and four other pitchers are on the 60-day DL.
Hernandez is 90-65 with a 4.13 ERA in 211 starts and eight relief appearances for the New York Yankees (1998-2002, 2004), Chicago White Sox (2005), Arizona (2006) and New York Mets (2006-07).
Hernandez won World Series rings with the Yankees in 1998, 1999 and 2000 and with the White Sox in 2005. He was the 1999 ALCS MVP.
“I am completely pumped about it. If you ask any player that’s been around a while your first reaction to El Duque is ‘unbelievable competitor.’ He flat-out gets after it,” Rangers third baseman Michael Young said. “I can’t wait. I have a very high opinion of the guy.”
While the pitcher’s age has been questioned at times, and is listed as high as 43 by some accounts, Daniels said Hernandez is 39.
Daniels said there is no definite schedule for when Hernandez might get a chance to pitch for the Rangers.
Valentine’s club sets mark
Bobby Valentine’s Chiba Lotte Marines broke out of a hitting slump with a Japanese professional baseball record of 15 runs in one inning.
Lotte sent 20 batters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning, when the team had 12 hits, including 11 singles. The Marines defeated the Hiroshima Carp, 23-2.
The previous record for the most runs in an inning was 14. Valentine, who led the New York Mets to the World Series in 2000, is in his seventh season with the Marines.
Heading into the game, the Marines had the Pacific League’s lowest batting average (.250) and the second-fewest runs scored (207).
What’s in a name?
The Boston Red Sox have drafted the grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, the last major leaguer to hit for the Triple Crown.
High school outfielder Michael Yastrzemski was selected in the 36th round on the final day of the draft.
Boston also picked up outfielder Gavin McCourt, the son of Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and CEO Jamie McCourt.
Carl Yastrzemski played for the Red Sox from 1961 to ’83. He won the Triple Crown in 1967, leading the AL with a .326 average, 44 home runs and 121 RBI.
Escobar moved to bullpen
Los Angeles Angels right-hander Kelvim Escobar has been dropped from the rotation after one start and sent to the bullpen because of a lack of stamina in his surgically repaired throwing shoulder.
Manager Mike Scioscia said Escobar will not pitch again until the middle of next week. There is a possibility that Escobar, expected to be a reliever the rest of the season, could wind up on the disabled list.
Burrell to return to Rays
Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Pat Burrell is set to rejoin the team today after missing 29 games with a neck strain.
He was scheduled to be the designated hitter in a rehab game Thursday with Single-A Charlotte.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said Burrell will be a pinch-hitter and won’t play in the outfield during the six interleague road games next week at Colorado and the New York Mets.
Philadelphia Phillies minor league infielder Pablo Ozuna has been suspended for 50 games for having an elevated ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone, a violation of baseball’s drug rules. … Woodie Held, who played 14 years in the majors and was once traded for Roger Maris, died after a long bout with cancer. He was 77. … The Minnesota Twins have optioned infielder Alexi Casilla back to Triple-A Rochester, clearing the way for shortstop Nick Punto to return from the disabled list today. … The Houston Astros put right-hander Felipe Paulino on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin.