Apr 29, 2014, 6:03 AM EST
Seeking extra bullpen help for the immediate future while paving the way for Doug Fister’s pending return to their rotation, the Nationals will promote reliever Ryan Mattheus from Class AAA before tonight’s series opener in Houston and send struggling starter Taylor Jordan to Syracuse, a source with knowledge of the roster move confirmed.
The transaction serves multiple purposes. It gives the Nationals a fresh reliever for the next few days after five members of the bullpen were used during Sunday’s loss to the Padres. It also sets the stage for Fister to take the now-vacant spot in the rotation after the veteran right-hander makes one final rehab start Friday.
With two off-days this week, the Nationals don’t need a fifth starter until one week from today against the Dodgers. Given Jordan’s struggles — he’s 0-3 with a 5.61 ERA in five starts — the club essentially can skip his next turn in the rotation.
The Nationals, though, can’t simply slide Fister into Jordan’s rotation spot. Fister, who threw 59 pitches over four innings Sunday at Class A Potomac, is on a five-day schedule that includes one more rehab start Friday for Class AA Harrisburg, then a return to the Nats’ rotation Wednesday against Los Angeles.
Thus, the club will need someone else to start one game either this weekend in Philadelphia or next week vs. the Dodgers, with left-hander Ross Detwiler a possibility as well as Class AAA starter Blake Treinen.
Mattheus, meanwhile, joins the Nationals’ bullpen after posting a 5.40 ERA in nine appearances at Syracuse. The 30-year-old right-hander, a key member of the Nats’ 2012 relief corps, struggled to a 6.37 ERA in 37 games last season while also missing two months after breaking his pitching hand on a locker following a poor performance.
Mattheus missed most of spring training with a strained chest muscle but returned in late-March with three scoreless appearances.
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
ON THE RADIO
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)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Mets pitcher really, really does not like defensive shifts
- Dodgers sign former Phillies free agent bust
- Nats sign son of MLB legend to minor-league deal
- Zimmerman getting used to working with fellow infielders at 1B
- Zimmermann ready for game action after live BP, including one hit batter
- Strasburg talks signing of Max Scherzer, rise of Nats as franchise
- Why the Nationals don't use the shift more
- Past failures fuel Barrett to bounce back
- Phillies lose to Division II baseball team in spring exhibition
- Live BP features Scherzer, broken bat, anthem