ANAHEIM -- While in the middle of listening to country power duo, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, playing a concert in Atlanta, David Hernandez found out he'd been traded.
Hernandez, 31, isn't new to the concept of changing teams. Over his seven-year career, he's been granted free agency, traded, or released a total of four times, with the fifth landing him in Orange County.
Just over a month ago, Hernandez was pitching in Spring Training with the San Francisco Giants. He allowed three runs in just over five innings and was released before Spring ended. He was quickly brought on by another team.
Starting the season with the Atlanta Braves organization, the Sacramento native was assigned to their Triple-A affiliate in Gwinnett, a suberb of Atlanta. Hernandez felt he had an opportunity with the Braves, but at the cost of missing his family during the season.
"Kids weren't too happy about it," Hernandez said. "When I called them [about the trade], they were (smiling) ear-to-ear and and happy that I'm closer."
Being assigned to the minors for something other than a brief stop or injury for the first time since his rookie season, Hernandez was comfortable that his abilities would lead him to a Major League spot.
"It was definitely a blessing in disguise starting in Triple-A, afforded me to be able to work on some things," he said.
In short sample size, Hernandez allowed one run in eight innings with Gwinnett, striking out nine and walking two. He was potentially on his way to another strong Major League season.
"I was throwing strikes," said Hernandez. "That's what I struggled with last year was throwing strikes consistently."
Along with the strikes, the journeyman added a new pitch to his repertoire - a slider.
"It's coming along gradually," Hernandez said. "I started with it in the off-season and I actually never threw it in a Spring Training game. Being in Triple-A is probably the right place to work things."
With a new team and clean slate, Hernandez is hoping to duplicate his success from the season prior when he held a 3.84 ERA and 109 ERA+ in 70 games with the Philadelphia Phillies.