Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

A parking lot on his mind

Trucker dad catches Goldeye son's games whenever he can

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Some ball players check the first few rows of the stands for the local beauties, but Nick Hernandez scans the parking lot for a familiar big rig.

"My dad drives long haul for a living. When I'm playing the U.S., he looks at my schedule and tries to get a trip to the area we're in. He's always calling to find out if the hotel or the park has enough room for his truck," said Hernandez, a 25-year-old lefty who had his best outing of the season on Wednesday, scattering three hits over seven innings of work and allowing just one run to get the win.

"For my dad, baseball is in our blood and this is a chance for him to make money and watch baseball. I love showing up the park and seeing his truck. I look for the company logo all the time."

Baseball family

The Hernandez family is indeed a baseball family. Nick's father, also named Nick, was a first round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in 1978 and his uncle Angel has been a Major League Baseball umpire since 1993.

"I still throw to my dad in the off-season. He was a catcher and he always tells me, 'Once a catcher, always a catcher,' " said Hernandez.

"My uncle was up and down between triple-A and the bigs for a few years until he got his permanent break and he's been a big league ump ever since. It's great having family in baseball. We talk about the ins and outs of the game. There's always a chance to learn something when my family is together."

Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009, Hernandez pitched at different levels for a number of years before injury shut him down for two seasons.

"My shoulder just didn't feel right and eventually I couldn't throw the way I needed," said Hernandez.

After two seasons away from the game, the Florida native returned last season and pitched again in the Phillies farm system before getting his release.

He signed with the Goldeyes this off-season and his last two outings have been strong as he's gone six plus innings and earned a pair of wins.

"I pitch off my fastball and love to throw my change at any time," he said. "I like to spot it and keep guys off balance."

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 14, 2014 C7

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