CLEVELAND — Roberto Hernandez could be making his season debut next week.
Hernandez, who missed the first four months of the year dealing with repercussions from false identity charges in the Dominican Republic, made his fourth minor league rehab appearance Friday, pitching seven strong innings (100 pitches) for Triple-A Columbus against Indianapolis.
“The plan is if he does have an outing (Friday) where he doesn’t have any type of red flags or anything like that, he could be joining our rotation next week,” Acta said of Hernandez, who allowed a run on four hits, striking out four and walking one. “But we have to wait and see, too. A lot can happen in five days, but we’re anticipating calling him (up) next week.”
Hernandez served the final day of his three-week suspension from MLB on Friday. He is expected to take the rotation spot of left-hander Chris Seddon, who started against Boston on Friday night.
(bullet) There was also positive news on the Rafael Perez (strained left lat) front. The left-hander will resume his minor league rehab assignment, pitching for Columbus today.
Perez has not pitched since early April and has already endured a setback during his rehab.
Jason Kipnis missed his second straight game with a stiff neck, but Acta is confident the second baseman will return to the lineup tonight.
Kipnis, a candidate for the All-Star Game, has struggled in the second half, batting just .193 (17-for-88) over his last 25 games to drop his season average to .259.
An MRI performed on disabled designated hitter Travis Hafner’s ailing back revealed disc inflammation but no structural damage. According to head trainer Lonnie Soloff, Hafner has begun taking anti-inflammatory medicine and received an epidural injection to his lower back Friday.
“In terms of a timetable, it will depend on his responses to the medication, the injection and the treatment,” Soloff said.
The Indians are hopeful Hafner will avoid surgery. He is eligible to leave the injured list Aug. 21.
30 and counting
With his 30th save Thursday, Indians closer Chris Perez became just the fifth pitcher in Cleveland history to record multiple 30-plus-save seasons.
The right-hander, who accomplished the feat in consecutive years, joined Doug Jones (1988-90), Jose Mesa (1995-96), Mike Jackson (1998-99) and Bob Wickman (2011, ’05).
Gaylord the great
Already a member of baseball’s Hall of Fame (1991), legendary pitcher Gaylord Perry will be inducted into the Indians Hall of Fame prior to tonight’s game.
Perry, who won 314 games and two Cy Young Awards — 1972 with the Indians and 1978 with the Padres — during a 22-year career, pitched three full years in Cleveland from 1972-74 before being traded to Texas during the 1975 season.
The 73-year-old Perry was in attendance Friday and will be joined by Indians Hall of Famers Sandy Alomar, Mike Hargrove, Andre Thornton, Kenny Lofton and Sam McDowell for the induction ceremonies.
The Indians will pass out Perry bobbleheads Sunday.
Right-hander Derek Lowe cleared waivers and received his outright release from the Indians. … The Indians entered Friday owning the worst record (8-19) in the American League since the All-Star break — third-worst in the majors ahead of Houston and Colorado. … Tonight, 6:05, STO/WTAM 1100-AM. McAllister (4-4, 3.60) vs. Morales (3-2, 3.14).
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.
Content copyright The Chronicle-Telgram.