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 »
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
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