Nationals resign Livan Hernandez


From Nationals Journal

Livan Hernandez gets contract extension

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The Washington Nationals announced today a contract extension for starting pitcher Livan Hernandez through 2011. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Hernandez has been the cl

ub's most reliable starter this season and is by far the leader in innings pitched with 175 1/3. He also has taken an active role in helping the younger pitchers on the staff become acclimated to the major leagues.

It's that level of dependability on the mound and in the clubhouse that prompted GM Mike Rizzo to work out a deal with the right-hander now rather than waiting until the end of this season.

"We think that he's earned it," Rizzo said after the Nationals beat St. Louis, 4-2, this afternoon to take three of four in the series. "His coming into spring training in terrific condition and pitching great throughout the season and really being a cornerstone and a leader of the pitching rotation, the time he gives with our young guys. It's just something we think that he earned and deserved and could be a guy for us through the winter that we know he's part of the ballclub, and we know every fifth day we'll be handing him the ball and have a quality start."

While the Nationals' rotation this season has been in flux, Manager Jim Riggleman always has been able to count on Hernandez, who in 15 big league seasons has not gone to the disabled list. Riggleman called that "remarkable" before his start on Saturday night against the Cardinals, when Hernandez gave up three runs in the first inning but settled down to even his record at 9-9 with a 3.49 ERA in a 14-5 victory.

Hernandez's durability is all the more stark considering Nationals rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg, who has 12 starts in his career, is expected to miss 12 to 18 months after ligament replacement surgery in his right elbow. Hernandez, meantime, made his club record 94th start on Saturday.

"I'm really happy with the situation," Hernandez said. "It's always I want to come back and play here. It gives me a chance to come back for another year and hopefully more years."

Hernandez, 35, is the winningest pitcher in the brief history of the Nationals, who came to the District in 2005. He's also the leader in innings pitched (617) and strikeouts (354).

Hernandez is 165-160 with a 4.39 ERA over his big league career comprising 440 games and 439 starts. He's the only current major leaguer who has started at least 30 games in 12 consecutive seasons. Hernandez needs three more starts this season to extend that streak.

"For next year, it's going to be very fun," Hernandez said. "It's a dream come true."

keep up the good work LIVO
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