Class A Advanced Clearwater manager Shawn Williams knows the value of having a rehabbing Major Leaguer alongside young talent. The skipper couldn't have asked for much more from Phillies infielder Cesar Hernandez during his stint with the Threshers, even with just a single hit in his four-day rehab assignment.
The 27-year-old tied a Florida State League record by walking six times in the Threshers' 13-4 win over the Daytona Tortugas on Sunday at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. He reached base in all seven plate appearances.
Hernandez added an RBI single while becoming the first FSL player to walk six times in a game since Stephen Aleschuk on Aug. 22, 1966. He finished his rehab assignment 1-for-7 with two runs scored, an RBI and nine walks in four games with the Threshers.
"I think it helps a ton for our guys to have a Major Leaguer with us," Williams said. "They get to see the at-bats he's had and how he goes about them. He's been outstanding while he's been here with us. The guys have gone up to him looking for advice and he's been great about it. He's taken them under his wing and showed them how to do things, and they've watched him and the way he goes about things. It's been a great experience for everyone involved."
Hernandez walked in his first four plate appearances through five innings Sunday, but was stranded each time. The Venezuela native earned his fifth free pass in the seventh and scored on Deivi Grullon's infield hit. After walking again in the eighth, Hernandez plated Clearwater's 13th run by beating out a base hit to second in the ninth.
"Cesar set the tone for the whole lineup and it wore off on them," the manager said. "Everyone had great at-bats tonight, and it all starts with the top of the lineup. He's shown that he's your prototypical leadoff guy. He takes pitches, he's a good baserunner and he plays well defensively at second to boot. He only had the one hit in the four games, but all of his at-bats were like today. Cesar worked deep counts, fouled off pitches and waited for the one he could handle, which is great for the younger kids to see."
Hernandez batted a career-high .294 in 155 games with the Phillies in 2016 and has hit .280 in 440 games as a big leaguer. The switch-hitter compiled a slash line of .277/.336/.399 with 40 runs scored through 58 games before he was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left oblique on June 11.
Jan Hernandez fell a triple shy of the cycle and drove in two runs, while Grullon doubled and finished with three hits and an RBI for the Threshers.
Jose Taveras (6-4) snapped a five-start winless streak, allowing two runs and scattering six hits over seven innings. The 23-year-old struck out six and didn't walk a batter for the fourth time in 16 starts.
Daniel Sweet hit his first homer and Garrett Boulware had a two-run double for Daytona.