Apr 18, 2014, 5:38 PM EST
The Washington Nationals recalled lefty relief pitcher Xavier Cedeno on Friday afternoon and optioned right-hander Blake Treinen back down to Triple-A Syracuse.
Treinen, 25, will return to a starter’s schedule now after serving a week as the Nationals’ long reliever.
“The plan for him outside of the major league team is for him to start and build his innings,” manager Matt Williams said.
“He is one of the long guys. What it means for him now is that he would probably be shut down for two or three days at least. It also gives him an opportunity to get on normal rest and continue his progression starting. That’s why we made the move. He’d be unavailable for the next couple days anyways.”
The Nationals are sending Treinen down after the rookie held a 1.35 ERA across three appearances – 6 2/3 total innings – since making his debut on April 12. The Nats skipper left the door open for Treinen to return to Washington some time later this season to help out in long relief.
“He pitched well, he pitched really well for us,” Williams said. “He was starting before he came up, and starting translates to long relief if the need arises. But he’s going to continue to start and build his innings down there. Certainly work on his secondary pitches and all that, but it’s a pretty electric fastball. It’s a really good fastball.”
Williams actually threw out a pretty lofty comparison for Treinen’s heater. The Nationals manager invoked a former Cy Young-winner.
“For guys that have the ability to start, that’s a heavy fastball. That’s, not to put any pressure on anybody, but that’s a Verlander-esque fastball at 97 or 98 miles per hour. Certainly Justin Verlander is a polished pitcher and has other pitches to go along with it, but that fastball plays.”
Treinen was called up on April 12 in a move that sent fellow rookie Aaron Barrett to Syracuse. Barrett was swapped for Treinen to add a fresh arm to the Nats’ bullpen, but Williams expects to have Barrett back soon. The right-hander is eligible to be brought back up on Tuesday.
Cedeno joins the Nationals for the first time this year after making three appearances in Triple-A with the Chiefs. There he allowed zero runs and just a walk and a hit in 3 2/3 innings.
Cedeno was a nice surprise for the Nationals last season with a 1.50 ERA in 11 appearances.
Denard Span on track to return this weekend
The Nationals expect to have Denard Span back some time this weekend once his 7-day disabled list assignment for a concussion is finished. He is eligible to return on Saturday when the Nats host the St. Louis Cardinals.
Span is currently rehabbing with the Single-A Hagerstown Suns and had four at-bats with the team on Thursday. Williams expects a similar workload Friday night.
“That’s the expectation. He’s going to play again tonight,” Williams said. “He came out of yesterday great, he’ll play again tonight and see where he’s at. He made a tough play in center last night, had four at-bats and a couple of hits. He felt fine, that’s the biggest thing, he felt good about it.”
Williams is almost certain Span will be back on Saturday, but left the door open for him to be reinstated on Sunday given the team’s quick turnaround between games.
“Depending on whether we need him tomorrow. We have a day game and he has to travel, so all those things come into play.”
Span sustained a concussion last Friday night after colliding with Braves’ second baseman Dan Uggla in Atlanta. He is hitting .222 with four RBI and a steal through 10 games with the Nationals this season.
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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