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Hernandez encouraged by his side session

MARC TOPKIN, Times wires
Published October 7, 2004

NEW YORK - Yankees right-hander Orlando Hernandez tested his sore shoulder in a bullpen session before Wednesday's game and did well enough that a start in Saturday's Game 4 remains a possibility, if not a probability.

"Initially, I was a little scared, but as the bullpen went along, I felt a little better," Hernandez said through an interpreter. "I feel better now. I'm happier because I'm progressing."

El Duque, coming off shoulder surgery in May 2003, won his first eight decisions after rejoining the Yankees at midseason, but he lost his final two and has been bothered by what he calls a "dead arm."

THE OTHER MOLINA: Bartolo Colon turned around his first season with the Angels when Jose Molina was behind the plate.

So when it came to choosing between Jose and Bengie Molina to be his catcher in Game 2 of the division series against the Red Sox, it was a no-brainer: Jose got the nod.

"Bartolo really doesn't have a preference. It's just a comfort level that's extraordinary, with what Jose has done with Bartolo," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Those guys have done very well down the stretch in a lot of key games and we are going to stay with it."

The younger Molina caught the right-hander through most of the second half. Colon was 12-4 after July 3, and Jose Molina started 10 of those wins.

Colon finished 18-12 with a 5.01 ERA in 34 starts after going 5-8 with a 6.57 ERA in his first 17. Scioscia had Bengie Molina behind the plate for two of Colon's starts in September because he wanted his bat in the lineup as much as possible in the postseason and wanted Colon to get reaccustomed to him. Those plans changed when the Angels lost Game 1.

MISCELLANY: Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter became the 19th player overall, and the third in a postseason game, to hit a home run into the black centerfield bleachers, a blast that carried at least 430 feet. ... The Twins plan to start 14-game winner Carlos Silva, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Philadelphia, in Game 3.

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