Roberto Hernandez was arrested in mid-January for using false identification to obtain a visa. (AP)Pitchers and catchers will report to Cleveland Indians camp in Arizona on Monday, but Roberto Hernandez, of course, will not be among them.
The 31-year-old pitcher formerly known as 28-year-old Fausto Carmona will instead wait in his native Dominican Republic until his legal problems are resolved and he can return to the United States. (As you'll remember, he was arrested last month after trying to obtain a U.S. visa using false identification.)
But while the Tribe has placed no requirements on welcoming Hernandez back to the team — at least not publicly — the pitcher is busy trying to make amends while making sure no Dominican youngster ever has to experience what he just went through. According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Hernandez has been talking to youth baseball camps trying to get out the message that you don't have to lie to become a major leaguer.
After speaking, he hands out T-shirts emblazoned with a message ("In truth there is triumph"), his real name (Hernandez) and his number (55).
From the Plain Dealer:
"Roberto is telling the young players about what he's experienced and gone through," said agent Jorge Brito.
"He's telling them that if you're 18 or 19, not to let anyone convince you that you have to change your identity or age so that you can realize your dream of becoming a major-league player ... He tells them you don't have to lie. He's telling them not to listen to the people who are trying to convince you to do that. Those people are trying to take advantage of you."
When news of Hernandez's arrest first broke, a lot of people wondered how many other Dominican players might be playing under assumed names. We still don't know, but at least Hernandez is working toward making sure that future players know they don't have to live the same lie that he did.
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