Astros reach deal with veteran Hernandez

The Astros added more pitching depth Tuesday by reaching an agreement on a Minor League contract with right-hander Livan Hernandez, a veteran of 16 Major League seasons. The deal includes an invite to Spring Training.

Hernandez, who will be 37 next month, has played for seven different teams, going 8-13 with a 4.47 ERA in 29 starts (175 1/3) innings for the Nationals last year.

“Any time you get a chance to bring an experienced Major League veteran, you’ve got to consider it,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “He brings a lot to us in terms of a veteran presence in the clubhouse and his ability to pitch a lot of innings and give our team a chance to stay in games, and that’s really a big part of why we wanted to do it.

“Also, he allows us to have more options and flexibility in terms of who’s in the rotation to start the year and maybe not have to rush some younger kids that may or not be ready. It’s really about depth for us. You can’t have enough starting pitching.”

Hernandez is a durable innings-eater who has topped 200 innings in his career 10 times, most recently with the Washington Nationals in 2010. He has a career record of 174-176 with a 4.39 ERA while pitching for Florida (1996-99), San Francisco (1999-2002), Montreal/Washington (2003-2006, 2009-11), Arizona (2006-07), Minnesota (2008), Colorado (2008) and the New York Mets (2009).

He was named the World Series Most Valuable Player for the Marlins in 1997 and made the All-Star team in 2004 and 2005. A workhorse, he’s led the league in innings pitched three times: 2004-05. He’s thrown more than 50,000 pitches in his career.

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