Two stints, two playoff teams: Diamondbacks’ Hernandez valuable addition

Oct 4, 2017, 1:03 PM | Updated: 2:58 pm
Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher David Hernandez pitches against the LA Dodger at Chase Field, T...
Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher David Hernandez pitches against the LA Dodger at Chase Field, Tuesday, August 29, 2017, Phoenix. (Photo by Jamie Nish/ Cronkite News)
(Photo by Jamie Nish/ Cronkite News)

PHOENIX — From making his postseason debut in 2011 to emerging as one of the more experienced relievers out of the bullpen in 2017, David Hernandez is the only pitcher on the active roster to be a part of two Arizona Diamondbacks playoff teams.

“I don’t think a whole lot changes, I just feel like that excitement is there,” Hernandez said. “Back in 2011, we clinched with roughly around the same amount of games left, so it’s kind of like we just want to get these games over with and get after it. I would say just the excitement of just being in, (and) just having the opportunity to win a championship.”

Hernandez was on the Diamondbacks from 2011 to 2015. He then spent time with the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The right-hander was traded from the Angels to the Diamondbacks in exchange for minor-league pitcher Luis Madero on July 31.

It is not that common to be traded back to a team on two separate occasions. For some, being sent to a new organization can be a challenge. That was not the case for Hernandez.

“I was excited, just extremely excited,” Hernandez said. “Just to get back, I mean I love being in Arizona, just in general. Playing with a lot of these guys for a few years, we’ve built some good relationships. It’s always good to be back in your comfort zone.”

That comfort has helped the reliever tremendously, and has led to a more smooth transition, in many aspects, after being traded.

“Just (being) familiar with where to go and just the simple things you get accustomed to when you go to a new team,” Hernandez said. “You got to find out first where’s the parking lot to get into the place. But yeah, just I think that was one of the key things of being traded, especially during the season. It makes it a whole lot easier.”

The Diamondbacks’ current roster is relatively new to the playoff atmosphere, but there are some players on the team, like Hernandez, that have postseason experience.

Paul Goldschmidt is the only other player on the active roster that was also a part of that 2011 Diamondbacks team. Manager Torey Lovullo believes those players, like Hernandez and Goldschmidt, are guiding the way for the younger players now that they have postseason experience under their belt.

“I know Paul Goldschmidt has some playoff experience from 2011,” Lovullo said. “But he’s talked about being so young and he was just young and dumb, and didn’t really pay attention to it. He was just hitting the baseball. Now, he’s in a different role of leadership, so he’s doing his best to get back there and remember what that was like, so he can pass along that information.

“Anybody that’s played in those games I know brings a commune effect. When asked, they can give some leadership-style of input, and I rely on those guys, too.”

Hernandez sees some similarities with both playoff teams.

“I think we’re a well-rounded group,” Hernandez said. “We got a good mix of starting pitching and the offense is starting to click, especially with J.D. (Martinez) getting going. We’re staying hot. And the bullpen, we got some good arms down there.”

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Two stints, two playoff teams: Diamondbacks’ Hernandez valuable addition