Yanks' El Duquecito Impresses
Jun. 04, 2000
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ El Duquecito had an impressive debut.
Cuban defector Adrian Hernandez retired his first 12 hitters _ eight on strikeouts _ en route to a three-hit, 13-strikeout performance over 6 2-3 innings in his U.S. pro debut Saturday night for the ClassA Tampa Yankees.
In a Florida State League game against the Fort Myers Miracle, Hernandez, 25, didn't allow a runner until Dustan Mohr's leadoff single in the fifth.
The Miracle ended Hernandez's shutout bid in the seventh on a wild pitch. He waved toward the Legends Field crowd of 1,869 as he departed to a standing ovation.
Hernandez, who walked one, threw 60 of 93 pitches for strikes.
Hernandez defected from Cuba on Jan. 2 by sneaking aboard a plane to Costa Rica. Before Saturday, he had been pitching for the Yankees' extended spring training team in Florida.
The 25-year old right-hander said in early April that he had agreed to a four-year contract with the Yankees.
Hernandez is nicknamed El Duquecito because his pitching motion is similar to that of Orlando Hernandez, another Cuban defector.
El Duque started for the Yankees on Friday night against the Atlanta Braves. The two are not related but both pitched for Cuba's top team, Havana Industriales.
Notes Tampa Yankees C Michel Hernandez _ who caught Adrian Hernandez Saturday night _ also defected from Cuba. ... Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was among the team officials attending the game.