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Livan Hernandez throws batting practice for the Nationals and mimics opposing pitchers

Jun 23, 2014, 1:20 PM EDT

Livan Hernandez Getty Images

At the end of his 17-season career lots of people made jokes about Livan Hernandez “throwing batting practice” because his fastball topped out in the high-80s and he served up a bunch of homers, but now he’s actually throwing batting practice.

Hernandez, who retired following the 2012 season and is now 39 years old, joined the Nationals as an “ambassador” and is now their official batting practice pitcher of choice. James Wagner of the Washington Post wrote a good article about Hernandez’s new role, including this excerpt:

But it isn’t just any regular batting practice. Hernandez actually pitches. Although he is closer to the plate than a standard mound, Hernandez throws almost as if he was in a game. Unlike coaches or bullpen catchers throwing fastballs, Hernandez throws curveballs, sliders and change-ups, too. Sometimes hitters will ask to simulate an at-bat and counts. A hitter struggling with breaking pitches might ask Hernandez for help and he will throw only curveballs to them. Hernandez can even mimic the delivery and times of that day’s opposing starter.

All joking aside, that seems like a pretty valuable thing to have for a baseball team. And not surprisingly for one of the most rubber-armed pitchers in baseball history, Hernandez said of his new gig: “I love it. If they left me there, I’d throw the entire day.”

  1. maddog11896 - Jun 23, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    He was only with the Brewers for a month or two, but I liked him. He seemed to show leadership to the bullpen and helped the younger guys out a lot.

  2. cur68 - Jun 23, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    This is a great idea. I hope Anthopolous can get Jamie Moyer on the phone stat.

    • Cris E - Jun 23, 2014 at 3:19 PM

      One drawback: Jamie can only mimic a high school fastball. If that day’s starter is throwing over 70 mph you may want to stick with the elderly bullpen coach.

      • maddog11896 - Jun 29, 2014 at 5:04 AM

        1

    • stex52 - Jun 23, 2014 at 4:46 PM

      Last year before facing Dickey, the Astros had Steve Sparks (now an announcer) throw batting practice with knucklers. It worked extremely well for that game. I’m not sure they were able to replicate it, though.

  3. natstowngreg - Jun 23, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    I’d pay a small amount of cash money to watch Livo throw batting practice. It might be the most entertaining batting practice, ever.

  4. Jason @ IIATMS - Jun 23, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    That’s all very interesting, but didya know that Yanks’ Vidal Nuno imitates Hernandez during real games?!?

  5. recoveringcubsfan - Jun 23, 2014 at 6:17 PM

    Aw, Livan finally found a gig where he has an unlimited pitch count. Good for him.

  6. thomas844 - Jun 23, 2014 at 6:50 PM

    I wonder why more teams don’t do this.

  7. yahmule - Jun 23, 2014 at 7:01 PM

    This thread made me smile.

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