Livo reaches milestone, wants to stay with Nationals
Nationals right-hander Livan Hernandez was one of the heroes in a 9-2 victory over the Braves at Turner Field on Tuesday night.
Hernandez lasted seven innings and allowed two runs on five hits. He also became the 12th pitcher in baseball history to throw 50,000 pitches in his career. That pitch — a curveball — came in the bottom of second inning, when he induced right-hander Jair Jurrjens to ground out to end the second inning.
Hernandez didn’t about know about reaching the milestone until Nationals clubhouse manager Mike Wallace informed him before the game.
“I thank God everyday for giving me a chance to throw all of my career. It’s nice,” Hernandez said. “It’s hard to stay healthy every five days. … I’m the type of guy that tries to take care of himself every fifth day. Sometimes, it’s hard to pitch when it’s hot or cold.
“Sometimes, the weather is bad. You have to see everything that happens around you. It’s not easy to throw 50,000 pitches. I told the young guys, when you get here, you try to stay here. You don’t try to stay here for a couple of years and go somewhere else. You want to stay in this level. It’s easy to make it, but it’s not easy to be consistent every five days.”
Hernandez is a free agent after this season and he made it known that he wants to stay with the Nationals. Knowing that the team plans to have a young rotation that includes Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann next year, Hernandez told general manager Mike Rizzo that he is willing to become a long reliever with the club. Hernandez wants to start working on his new role this offseason.
“Hopefully something good happens. I [hope to get a chance] and try to be a long reliever and see. I made the decision that day with [pitching coach Steve McCatty]. I told Cat the other day that I can do that. Let’s see what happens.
“I love to stay here. It’s not about the money because I know I can make more money. It’s about, I enjoy every day that I am here. I enjoy playing baseball here. It’s where you feel comfortable. I lived before with no money. This is where you feel good.”
Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman made it known that Hernandez is a unique individual who loves to play in Washington.
“He understands the game. He understands hitters He is not afraid to throw any pitch at any count,” Zimmerman said. “He never gives in. Those are the toughest pitchers to face because you really don’t know what they are going to throw you at anytime. Just his ability to keep the hitter guessing is what makes Livo such as success.
“He enjoys the people here. So it’s fun to play with him, it’s fun to play behind him. He is one of those guys where every fifth day, he is ready to go. He is going to do everything he can to help the team win.”