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Notebook: Hernandez not upset about McClendon’s decision

NEW YORK – Speculation in the Pirates clubhouse Thursday was that third baseman Jose Hernandez didn’t start against New York Mets left-hander Tom Glavine last night because the team didn’t want him to reach another tier of incentives clauses in his contract.

That theory was debunked when it was learned that the Pirates aren’t on the hook for any of the bonus money in Hernandez’s contract. That was part of the agreement when the Pirates acquired Hernandez from the Chicago Cubs on July 22.

The contract Hernandez signed in the offseason with the Colorado Rockies included $300,000 in performance bonuses based upon games started. The clause kicked in at 110 starts and guaranteed Hernandez $60,000 for every additional 10 starts.

By making 134 starts for the Rockies, Cubs and Pirates, Hernandez has achieved $180,000 in bonus money. He wouldn’t have reached the next tier of bonuses even if he had started yesterday.

It also had been rumored that Hernandez, who has appeared in 147 games, would reach an incentive tier for 150 games played. That also doesn’t appear to be true.

Either way, Hernandez wasn’t upset with manager Lloyd McClendon’s decision to start Rob Mackowiak at third.

“I’ve had my worst season and haven’t done the job,” he said. “I’ve played well defensively, but offensively I’ve been real bad.”

Hernandez is batting .218 since joining the Pirates and has gone 20 games without an extra-base hit. He is 6 for 49 this month.

“If I had a better season, it would be different,” he said about missing any incentive clauses. “I’m hitting .220 with 170 strikeouts. I don’t blame them for not playing me.”

Jeff D’Amico will fall short of the final incentive clause in his contract and won’t collect $125,000 for making a 30th start. In addition, Brian Boehringer won’t get a chance to collect a $20,000 bonus for making 65 appearances.

With four games remaining, Boehringer had appeared in 61 games. He had pitched only five times this month even though he had been scored upon once in his past six appearances.

Boehringer also understood the Pirates’ rationale.

“I can’t blame them for trying to save money,” he said.

BROADCAST NEWS

The contracts of broadcasters Lanny Frattare, Greg Brown, Steve Blass and Bob Walk have been extended through the 2006 season. Next year will mark the 11th consecutive season the four broadcasters have worked together.

Frattare also will move past Bob Prince in terms of longevity among Pirates broadcasters. It will be his 29th year behind the microphone. Blass joined the broadcast crew in 1983. Brown and Walk came aboard in 1994.

NOT DONE YET

Oliver Perez might not be shut down for the rest of the season after all because of a blister on the middle finger of his left hand. Perez threw a 40-pitch sideline session in the bullpen yesterday and didn’t report any problems with his blister.

Perez could be used in relief during the Cubs series. McClendon, however, won’t alter his rotation to give Perez another start.

“I don’t want to run the risk now,” McClendon said. “There’s no upside to it.”

CATCHING ON

Jason Kendall, who caught his 143rd game last night, will set a career high in starts this weekend if he plays in all three games against the Cubs. He also will lead the majors in starts and appearances for a catcher.

Kendall made 145 starts at catcher in 2000. McClendon plans to ride Kendall to the finish line, only giving him Sunday off if the game is meaningless in the Cubs’ playoff quest.

“He has all winter to rest now,” McClendon said.


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