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Stammen optioned to AAA

Jun 6, 2010, 9:20 PM EDT

Craig Stammen's best pitching performance of the season still wasn't good enough to save his job.

The Nationals optioned Stammen to Class AAA Syracuse following today's 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Reds, a move that clears space for Stephen Strasburg to be added in time for Tuesday's game against the Pirates.

Stammen, who entered the afternoon with a 5.88 ERA and every reason to believe his job security was low, nonetheless went out and held Cincinnati to one run over 6 2/3 innings. More impressively, the right-hander threw only 66 pitches before getting pulled by manager Jim Riggleman with two outs in the seventh and the Nats clinging to a 2-1 lead.

"It certainly was not a pitch count issue," Riggleman said. "I just felt like [Orlando] Cabrera, he had centered the ball a couple of times on Craig and I didn't want him to get another look at Craig. I knew I had a very fresh bullpen today. … We had them all ready. I thought Craig did a great job."

In the end, it really didn't matter how Stammen pitched today. His fate was already sealed. The only question, Riggleman said, was whether Stammen (or any other starter in consideration to lose his spot) would be moved to the bullpen instead. Fellow right-handers J.D. Martin (0-1, 2.31 ERA in two starts) and Luis Atilano (5-2, 4.24Read more »

  1. joemktg - Jun 6, 2010 at 9:41 PM

    Leaves on a very good note, hopefully with head held up high.

  2. Anonymous - Jun 6, 2010 at 9:46 PM

    Probably upset and figured he did enough to save his job, but he will be back. As he exits the clubhouse the other starters watch him and think, "One bad start and he'll be using my locker. I need to produce every time." That kind of pressure to perform is needed for this organization…now about Capps?

  3. Anonymous8 - Jun 6, 2010 at 9:49 PM

    Management made the right move. Atilano really earned his spot. Stammen has struggled most of the season but did put out one of his best starts today.When Olsen is available, it will be a tougher decision to see who goes out of Lannan, Atilano and JD Martin.

  4. Anonymous - Jun 6, 2010 at 10:10 PM

    Should have been Batista. That's Riggleman for you.

  5. Frank - Jun 6, 2010 at 10:11 PM

    …And with Wang after that, it should be even more difficult to decide who gets moved and placed.Of course, figuring out where better pitchers go is always one of those good problems to have.

  6. Anonymous8 - Jun 6, 2010 at 10:20 PM

    Frank – …And with Jordan Zimmermann, who leaves the rotation then?Even Lannan could be on the outside looking in at the end of August if Wang and Zimmermann are ready.StrasburgLivanOlsenZimmermannWang

  7. alexva - Jun 6, 2010 at 10:42 PM

    The way they've played the last 10-12 games, it's hard to see them in the race for anything this year. If Livo stays sharp, he could be traded, Olsen if he recovers and is effective, same thing.

  8. Cwj - Jun 6, 2010 at 10:43 PM

    @Anon 6:10- Why Batista? He hasn't given up an earned run in his last 11 innings. You must be thinking of the April version of Batista.

  9. Big Cat - Jun 7, 2010 at 12:11 AM

    Stammens was the right choice to go to the minors. He pitches scared…he looks scared….I believe he is scared. He needs to trust his sinker and lets the chips fall as they may. That new saying "pitch to contact" He pitched well today and probably will do so in AAA also. I wish him well, but as everybody knows, the Red Sea is parting and Moses is coming to town!

  10. Knoxville Nat - Jun 7, 2010 at 1:31 AM

    Anon 6:10…..what makes you think it is Riggleman's decision to send Stammen to AAA? Did you bother to consider that perhaps Rizzo has the final decision on these matters? Did you stop to think that Batista has pitched well since April, that he, unlike Stammen, is an experienced relief pitcher?

  11. DezziDoll - Jun 7, 2010 at 1:49 AM

    Tyler Walker should have received the Greyhound ticket to Syracuse. He's worthless. Stammen to the bullpen.

  12. SonnyG10 - Jun 7, 2010 at 3:28 AM

    Hate to see Stammen sent down, but someone had to go. It is a comforting thought that if we need to bring up a pitcher later, he is there.

  13. Grandstander - Jun 7, 2010 at 5:29 AM

    I think the issue here was that Stammen is only good the first 2 times through the lineup. Riggs said as much in that quote and anyone watching these games knows as much as well. He also just got straight up unlucky. He's a way better pitcher than Atilano, obviously, but hasn't really had that opportunity to shine. It wouldn't surprise me one bit to see Stammen in long relief in the pen and Walker DFA'd before the season is over.Look at how well Clippard improved after being moved to the pen!

  14. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2010 at 1:06 PM

    Thye should have kept Stammen and moved him to the bullpen and DFA's one of our horrible relievers, Walker, Batsita or Burnett. I hope Stammne shows Rizzo how wrong he is and forces his way back up to NatsTown sooner rather than later.

  15. alexva - Jun 7, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    I think Craig should keep the car running, Wil Nieves may need a ride when Pudge is reactivated.

  16. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jun 7, 2010 at 5:52 PM

    I agree with Alexva. And I also believe Stammen (Last victory: April 19th) may be the Bally Star of 2010. Goes down … and down … and down … and never comes up again. I can hardly see this guy cracking a rotation with the likes of Wang and Detwiler in the wings. Nice guy, can hit a wee bit, but just pitches well enough to lose. I got tired of watching the guy.

  17. Anonymous - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    It will be interesting to see what happens when all the pitchers NOT currently in DC come back:StrasburgOlsenDetweilerMarquisWangZimmermanYou still have Lannan who is now pitching much better and Livo (trade bait again!). Gotta love that type of pitching depth. Could Stammen, Atilano or Martin make a move to the pen?

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