Roberto Hernandez: Welcome Back to the Tribe
Indians pitcher Roberto Hernandez (formerly known as Fausto Carmona) has received his visa and has returned to the United States. Hernandez arrived in Cleveland early Sunday and joined his team in the clubhouse prior to their game against Baltimore. He will serve a three-week suspension, effective Saturday, July 21. He will be eligible to play in Major League contests beginning on August 11. As he arrived in the clubhouse, his teammates greeted him with hugs and handshakes. One particular teammate asked Hernandez, “What do you want me to call you?” Hernandez laughed and replied, “Whatever you want.” Another teammate organized to have three birthday cakes, celebrating Hernandez’s 29th, 30th, and 31st birthdays, respectively. Hernandez and interpreter Charisse Dash addressed the media prior to Sunday’s contest.
Media: Did you ever think that you might not come back here?
Roberto Hernandez: It was a bad moment, and I have had time to reflect. I thank God that I am here and that I was given a new chance.
Media: How was it at the academies in the Dominican Republic? Were you able to talk to younger players about this issue?
RH: I was able to give my message to the kids there. I focused on kids ages 15 to 16, who were about to sign. I was able to answer their questions and just be a source for them not to have to do what I did.
Media: Whose idea was it to change your name?
RH: I wanted the opportunity to be able to sign in the Dominican Republic, and that was the reason why I changed my name.
Media: How much attention did you pay to the Indians while you were away?
RH: Of course, it’s my team. I was focused on seeing where they were, how they were doing, and focusing on the game.
Justin Masterson [guest appearance]: Who is your favorite player on their current roster?
RH: [Laughs] Justin Masterson.
Media: Do you think having this weight lifted off your shoulders will make you a better pitcher on the mound?
RH: I want to forget about the past and move forward. I feel that I don’t know if it will make me better, but I will work on giving what I have for the team.
Media: What were your thoughts when you heard you could not come back to America [at the start of the season]?
RH: I was very sad. It was on my mind.
Media: Have you addressed your teammates?
RH: I feel very remorseful for what happened. I apologize to all of my fans, my teammates, my team, and to everyone who looked up to me at that point. This is a new chance for me, and I am going to look forward.
Media: Do you feel like you are ready to play in games?
RH: I feel ready, but I am going to wait to be told what to do before I know what my plan is going forward.
Media: Do you think you had support from the organization?
RH: Yes, I received a lot of support from the Cleveland Indians. I was in communication with the team. I am very remorseful for what happened, and I am ready to move forward.
-Megan Golden, TribeVibe contributor