NEW YORK -- Braves right-handed pitcher Livan Hernandez entered Saturday afternoon's game against the Mets to face Lucas Duda with two on and one out in the fifth inning. Duda was just 10 when the veteran hurler made the only previous relief appearance of his career.
Hernandez's only previous relief appearance came when he made his Major League debut with three scoreless innings against the Braves on Sept. 24, 1996. Javy Lopez, Rafael Belliard and current Braves bullpen coach Eddie Perez were among the hitters the Cuban right-hander faced that day.
Having made 474 starts since then, Hernandez now finds himself attempting to extend his career while serving as a long reliever. The 37-year-old right-hander did not seem to have trouble adjusting to his role. He allowed one of his inherited runners to score on a two-out fifth-inning single, then showed his veteran poise while striking out Ike Davis with two on to end the sixth inning.
"You could see the experience yesterday," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Sunday morning. "A couple pitches, he was not going to give in. He commanded his fastball and he never panicked."
Hours after being released by the Astros on March 30, Hernandez signed with the Braves with the understanding that he would be primarily used in a relief role.
"I liked it and I warmed up fast," Hernandez said. "I was ready after like 20 pitches."
Gonzalez confirmed Hernandez was ready shortly after being informed he could enter for Jair Jurrjens.
"We gave him a heads up and he called within more than reasonable time to say, 'I'm ready,'" Gonzalez said.
Hudson has pain-free three-inning outing
NEW YORK -- Tim Hudson enjoyed three pain-free innings while pitching for Class A Rome against Charleston on Saturday night. The 36-year-old right-hander is aiming to rejoin the Braves' rotation during the series against the Pirates at the end of the month.
Hudson allowed two runs (one earned) and four hits in three innings. Two of the four hits he surrendered were infield singles recorded by Dante Bichette Jr.
"He felt great and now he'll go toward his next start," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez and Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell will be at State Mutual Stadium on Thursday night, when Hudson starts Rome's home opener against this same Charleston team. He will be scheduled to throw 60-65 pitches and attempt to complete four innings.
Hudson has been encouraged by the steady progress he has made since undergoing back surgery on Nov. 28.
The Braves plan to push Chipper Jones during a Monday afternoon workout at Minute Maid Park. Jones, who underwent left knee surgery on March 26, is confident he will be activated from the disabled list by Friday's home opener against the Brewers. But there is a chance he could be activated Tuesday.
Righty Julio Teheran did not experience any concerning physical problems while throwing 58 pitches in just 1 2/3 innings against Triple-A Durham on Saturday night. The highly-regarded prospect allowed three hits and issued two walks while facing just 11 batters.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez's decision to start Jack Wilson at shortstop on Sunday was simply a product of his desire to make sure his bench players get regular opportunities. Backup catcher David Ross will likely start one of this week's games against the Astros.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.