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Meet The Newest Met


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Orlando Hernández Pedroso (born October 11, 1965 in Villa Clara, Cuba), nicknamed El Duque, is a Major League Baseball right-handed starting pitcher who plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

 

Hernández has a unique windup, one in which he rapidly, in a reflex-like motion, kicks his leg up high while lowering his glove behind that leg, before throwing the ball. Wearing number 26, he always jumps over the baselines when heading to or from the mound.

 

Hernández played for Industriales of Havana in the Cuban National Series, winning it in 1992 and 1996. He was known for wearing his socks knee-high, a rather unusual sight in Cuban baseball. He also represented Havana in Selective Series playing for teams like Ciudad Habana and Habaneros.

 

El Duque was part of the gold-winning Olympic team at Barcelona in 1992.

 

Hernández defected from Cuba in 1997, in order to play for U.S. Major League Baseball. He is the older half-brother of pitcher Liván, who defected from Cuba in 1995.

 

Before the 2005 season, the Chicago White Sox agreed to terms on a two-year contract with Hernández, who had been with the New York Yankees (1998-2002, 2004). He also was on the Montréal Expos roster in 2003 but never played a game for them due to an injury.

 

Hernández enjoyed his best year in 1999, with a 17-9 record and setting career-highs in strikeouts (157) and innings pitched (214.1). After the regular season, he was selected the Most Valuable Player in the American League Championship Series.

 

Hernández came through with a clutch performance in Game 3 of the 2005 ALDS against the Boston Red Sox. He came on in relief with the bases loaded and nobody out and promptly retired the side without surrendering a run. The White Sox would go on to win the game, sweeping the Red Sox out of the playoffs en route to their first title since 1917. After the 2005 season, the White Sox traded him to the Arizona Diamondbacks for former teamate Javier Vazquez.

 

In a seven-year Major League career, Hernández has a 70-49 record with 794 strikeouts and a 3.99 ERA in 1004.2 innings.

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