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09/26/09 6:48 PM ET

Hernandez can prove worth to Nats

Washington (52-102) vs. Atlanta (84-70), 1:35 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Livan Hernandez believes he has six years left in his baseball career and wants those years to be with the Nationals.

It's not a secret how much he loves the city of Washington and respects the Nationals -- so much so that he wanted to be on the team in 2008, so he could pitch the first Opening Day at Nationals Park like he did in 2005 in Robert F. Kennedy Stadium.

Hernandez didn't achieve his goal last year, because the two sides could reach an agreement. But being back with Washington this season is good enough for him.

"I like the Nationals because of the way they treat people," Hernandez said recently. "I think it's very nice. I think that is more important. I'm very excited to come back. My history is here. I love the city. There are a lot of things you could do."

In August, the Nationals signed Hernandez for the rest of the season in order to give them innings and shut down some of the young arms on the pitching staff. For the most part, Hernandez has given them what they want. He has averaged six innings per start.

Hernandez hopes to pitch more innings on Sunday and break the Nationals' three-game losing streak as he faces the Braves at Nationals Park.

Pitching matchup
WSH: RHP Livan Hernandez (8-12, 5.53 ERA)
Hernandez is 1-4 with a 5.75 ERA in six starts since the Nationals signed him on Aug. 25, six days after he was released by the Mets. He allowed eight runs on eight hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings last time out, a 14-2 blowout against the Dodgers. He beat the Braves on May 5, holding Atlanta to one run in 6 1/3 innings in a 4-3 Mets victory.

ATL: RHP Derek Lowe (15-9, 4.55 ERA)
Lowe has halted some of his frustrations while winning three of his past four decisions. The veteran right-hander doesn't seem too concerned about the scratch he developed on his right thumb while limiting the Mets to three runs in five innings on Monday night. He has surrendered 12 homers on the season and four of those have been during the course of his past five starts. His lone win in four starts against the Nationals this year occurred on Aug. 12, when he allowed two runs in seven innings.

Pitcher Zack Segovia pitched three shutout innings against the Braves on Saturday. ... The Nationals have four pinch-hit homers this season. .... Ryan Zimmerman has hit into a team-leading 22 double plays this season.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• MASN 2

On radio
• WFED 1500, SBN 1390 (Español), ESPN 730 (Sp.)

Up next
• Monday: Nationals (Ross Detwiler, 0-6, 5.71) vs. Mets (Nelson Figueroa, 2-7, 4.88), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Nationals (J.D. Martin, 5-4, 4.71) vs. Mets (Mike Pelfrey, 10-12, 5.08), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Nationals (John Lannan, 9-13, 3.93) vs. Mets (Tim Redding, 3-6, 5.29), 4:35 p.m. ET

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.