If he wants, Liván Hernández would be eligible to play for Puerto Rico in inaugural World Baseball Classic next spring.
Based on Major League Baseball official, the Cuban pitcher and Washington Nationals ace, who has expressed interest in playing for Puerto Rico, telling local media in October “it would be a pleasure and something very important to me” to represent the U.S. Caribbean territory.
Mike Teevan, a spokesman for Major League Baseball, said the rules allow Hernandez to request permission to play for a team other than his native Cuba. “If he wants to pitch for a country other than Cuba, he’ll have to make request explaining why he wants to pitch for another team and not his country of origin.”
“I would represent Puerto Rico with much pleasure,” Hernandez said. Playing for Puerto Rico would “be a dream … because it’s a (place) where I live and feel a part of.” He said there would be no conflict if he faced Cuba. “I’m going to pitch against whoever I have to,” he said. “I’m going to try to win and give 100 per cent.”
Puerto Rico will play in Group C with Cuba, Panama and Netherlands in the first round, scheduled for San Juan’s Hiram Bithorn Stadium. Cuba hasn’t said if it will participate in the World Baseball Classic.
Hernandez defected from Cuba in 1995, is 15-10, 3.98 ERA in 35 starts last season, has a house in Puerto Rico and owns a local professional women’s volleyball team.
If Hernandez played for Puerto Rico, he would be great advantage for a team who short on strong pitching but has powerful lineup like Carlos Delgado, Ivan Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran.