Livo, Martin arrive in camp
Two days after agreeing to terms on a Minor League deal, Nationals right-hander Livan Hernandez reported to camp Friday and had his first bullpen session since late last season.
Hernandez is considered insurance in case pitchers such as Chien-Ming Wang, Scott Olsen and Ross Detwiler are not able to come back from injuries.
“Livo brings us an experienced guy who we know can give us innings,” general manager Mike Rizzo. “You know what you are dealing with. He is a good inventory guy for us. He is a veteran guy. You know he is going to give us innings. You know the type of pitcher he is going to be.”
Hernandez is coming off a season in which he went a combined 9-12 with a 5.44 ERA for the Mets and Nationals. Washington signed Hernandez as a free agent on Aug. 26, six days after New York released him.
On Friday, Hernandez sounded like a man who was pleased to return to the Nationals.
“I feel very happy that I’m back. The team did a great job putting a team together,” Hernandez said. “They have a chance to make the playoffs. They have a good team with power and pitching. It’s going to be really nice.”
* Right-hander Rafael Martin reported to Minor League camp Friday. He said a deal between him and the Nationals was finalized on Feb. 8.
Martin, who is a native of Southern California, said he is big-league ready, but understands that he must prove himself in the United States.
“Personally, I think I am ready,” Martin said. “I pitch to a lot of big-league hitters in the Mexican Winter League. I played in the Caribbean Series. I think everything will be fine.”
Washington believes that Martin will be a seventh- or an eighth-inning setup man for future closer Drew Storen. Martin is expected to start the 2010 season with Triple-A Syracuse or Double-A Harrisburg. His fastball is clocked between 92-94 mph.
Martin is coming off a season in which he pitched in 54 games for Saraperos de Saltillo of the Mexican League, going 6-3 with a 4.12 ERA. Even more impressive is that he struck out 65 batters in 63 1/3 innings and held opponents to a .244 batting average.
* Josh Willingham was not at the full-squad workout because his wife gave birth to boy named Ryder Jon Willingham on Wednesday in Florence, Ala. Ryder came in at 22 inches and weighed eight pounds. It’s not known when Josh Willingham will return to the team.