DENVER -- Livan Hernandez admits he was somewhat hesitant when he signed with the Braves with the knowledge that he would be primarily used as a long reliever. But while spending the past month getting his first taste of life in the bullpen, the veteran pitcher said he might spend a few more years enjoying this relief role.
"I have fun in the bullpen with the guys and we are laughing and watching the game, I enjoy every moment," Hernandez said. "I started to like it. Maybe I'll do this job for a [few] more years."
Hernandez's relief experience was enriched on Saturday night, when he notched his first save after 485 career appearances (474 starts). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first pitcher since Frank Tanana in 1990 to record his first save after that many starts. Tanana's first save came after 512 starts.
Hernandez admits he did not know he had recorded a save until he was shaking hands with his teammates after a 13-9 win over the Rockies. The veteran hurler entered after a 69-minute rain delay, with the Braves holding a one-run lead with one out in the eighth inning.
"I've never been in that situation," Hernandez said. "I think [Eric] Hinske told me, 'First save' and I was like, 'Oh, yeah.' Then when I started giving [high-fives] to everybody, I was like, 'Wow, first save.' It's very nice."