Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - The New York Yankees are on the verge of inking a one-year contract with pitcher Orlando Hernandez, a move that would bring the longtime Yankee righthander back to the club after a yearlong absence.
In January of 2003, the Yankees dealt Hernandez to the Chicago White Sox, who in turn shipped him to Montreal in a trade involving Bartolo Colon. However, a rotator cuff injury prevented him from ever appearing in a regular-season game for the Expos.
The deal is all but official and simply needs finishing touches. Hernandez has already passed his physical examination. Still bothered by the injury that kept him out of action last season, Yankees' manager Joe Torre figures to have Hernandez, who underwent surgery last May, available by mid-season.
Hernandez, whose exact age is disputed despite a listed birth year of 1969, went 8-5 with a 3.64 earned run average and a save in 24 appearances for the Yankees in 2002.
He served as a regular fixture in the New York rotation since 1998, a year in which he signed with the Yankees as an undrafted free agent just weeks before the start of the season after defecting from his native Cuba. That season, he finished 12-4 with a 3.13 ERA in 21 starts.
The man known around baseball as "El Duque" then posted a career-high in wins the following season with 17. Over the 2000 and 2001 campaigns, Hernandez combined for 16 victories in 45 starts and won three consecutive World Series titles while playing in the Bronx.
All told, his record with the Yankees stands at 53-38 with a 4.04 career ERA.