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Mattheus called up, Jordan going to AAA

Apr 29, 2014, 6:03 AM EST

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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.

  1. 3on2out - Apr 29, 2014 at 6:12 AM

    I am wondering about Joe Seamhead’s concern: what about the knuckle coming out of Ryan’s head? Shouldn’t they have that removed before they call him up? Of course, with a 5.40 ERA in 9 appearances, why be concerned? The dude clearly has his act together.

    • Joe Seamhead - Apr 29, 2014 at 6:27 AM

      Thanks for the early morning knuckle chuckle , 3on2out!

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:20 AM

        I sure hope that growth on his head isn’t contagious.

      • sunshinebobby - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:00 PM

        I thought we solved that problem when we got rid of Nook Logan.

  2. pchuck69 - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:02 AM

    Mattheus has been AWFUL in Syracuse. The fact that he’s been called up shows precisely how much this organization lacks depth.

    • nats128 - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:17 AM

      They thought they had alot of depth in training camp. Treinen would have been the choice however he pitched 4 innings. I suppose they could switch them out in a few days. I expect Mattheus to be sent back when Fister is ready or swapped out for Treinen.

      • bowdenball - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:28 PM

        Yup. This is just a spare arm for a few days, break in case of emergency kind of thing. I would be floored if he pitched any innings of consequence between now and Fister’s return.

    • adcwonk - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:42 AM

      Lacks depth?

      Taylor Jordan, Barrett, Tanner Roark, were all pressed into service from AAA to fill in for injuries. In the meantime, the Nats had Espi, McClouth, Lobaton, and Frandsen opening the season on the bench. All have filled in admirably.

      You’d be hard pressed to find too many other teams with that many second stringers doing that well.

  3. 3on2out - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:03 AM

    You’re welcome, Joe. Just wanted to be sure the best line of the day lived a little longer and it’s origin was properly cited.

  4. NatsNut - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:34 AM

    The 2 weeks are weird on the Nats schedule. They fly out west for only 2 games, then fly back east for 3 games vs. Phillies, come back home for just 3 games, then head back out west again. I feel sorry for them.

    • Eric - Apr 29, 2014 at 9:17 AM

      Kinda takes some of the “ease” out of their “easy” schedule, eh?

  5. NatsNut - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:34 AM

    The *next* 2 weeks.

  6. alexva6 - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:42 AM

    Treinen went 4 innings yesterday. He could line up for a Saturday start and they send Mattheus back down.

    • ArVAFan - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:02 AM

      Now that actually makes sense.

    • cayucosbaseballconservancy - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      No, you guys are all over Mattheus but he is one of the most effective bullpen types in Syracuse all stats considered along with Cedeno and Christian Garcia. Plus, he is a veteran. He at least has a positive value as a reliever unlike most of the others.

      If Trienen comes up Barrett (the reliever who did the H-Rod of walking hitters with the bases loaded?) goes down. He’s a negative value as reliever both in the majors and in Syracuse.He’s on his way down when Fister comes up anyway.

  7. Hiram Hover - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    Sometimes being a warm body is enough.

    • pchuck69 - Apr 29, 2014 at 9:08 AM

      Mattheus is barely a warm body.

  8. natitude7 - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:51 AM

    Maybe Christian Garcia gets sent up if he wasn’t on the DL, his stats in AAA are far better than Mattheus.

  9. masterfishkeeper - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    They don’t need a fifth starter until Sunday. Detwiler would seem to match up pretty well with the Phillies, given their preponderance of lefthanded batters. See if National Det can go four or five innings, then empty the bullpen.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 29, 2014 at 9:06 AM

      This is what I get for not reading the comments first, which I normally do… but not today.. I see my views were expressed earlier by others..

      But in regards to Det – Gotta wonder, have they been stretching him out to be a starter right now… I always thought Det was best suited for the BP (as a long innings guy) especially considering how he doesn’t vary his pitches… But his ERA vs 1st time against batters as opposed to his ERA vs 2nd time thru the order worries me…

  10. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    Matthues has been awful in the Cuse… I mean awful. Have no issue with TJ being sent down, he’s got some things to work on but bringing Mattheus up… idk.

    Would rather have Treinen…

  11. Dave - Apr 29, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    Please come back soon, Zimmie, Ramos, Fister, Hairston!

  12. tcostant - Apr 29, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    I don’t want Detwiler making that one start. You made him a RP, don’t screw arround with it.

    • alexva6 - Apr 29, 2014 at 9:32 AM

      Agree, also wonder about Gio’s shoulder.

      They could bump him today and still go JZim, Stras, Roark, Treinin, then Gio and start over again.

  13. unterp - Apr 29, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    why is it that people don’t believe what they see, like in Roark. Souza needs to get a shot at LF. We already know what Mclouth and Frandsen will give you. They are part time players. Souza has a big bat; let him use it…

    • cayucosbaseballconservancy - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:57 AM

      If that were the case they would stop shuttling him and send T-Mo to Syracuse where he would get plenty of AB’s right?

      As it is Rizzo I think is concocting a trade involving T-Mo so he stays on the roster. When Hairston is ready Souza goes back.

      • davecydell - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:40 PM

        Rooting for a TMo trade.

  14. Doc - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    Nats still look great on paper.

    Let’s hope that it isn’t written with disappearing ink!

  15. jd - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    IMO Matthues is up so they don’t use a valuable arm in a mop up role for the next few days. I think Gio and JZim start in Houston then Stras and Roark and Gio can start in Philly. JZim gets Monday against the Dodgers and then we need a starter for Tuesday before Fister’s start on Wednesday. A rainout between now and next Tuesday resolves everything.

    This gives the powers that be a week to decide on the spot starter and it could be Treinen or someone else. I don’t think Detwiler can go from pitching an inning or 2 to starting in 1 week.

  16. scnatsfan - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    I still dont understand the hate for Mattheus. I don’t agree with what he did – obviously – but it was great to see someone last year who was embarrassed with the way the team was performing (as well as his own performance).

    • jd - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:12 AM

      No hate. I just think Mattheus is a mediocre pitcher.

    • Hiram Hover - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:20 AM

      You really think no one else was frustrated about the team’s performance last year? They just had better sense about how (not) to express it.

      • Eric - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:45 AM

        Yeah…I’d prefer to see him channel his frustration into the pocket of the catchers mitt.

      • adcwonk - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:46 AM

        True — but it was a momentary flash of anger/frustration. Harper’s done it too (striking a bat against a wall and having a piece ricochet back at him just missing his eye). It’s not like he continually does knuckle-headed things (like some other since-traded players)

    • natsguy - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:31 AM

      He just got kicked out of a game at Syracuse for a temper tantrum and his era is at 5.40. Nuff said? I think he is a 5 game (or less) warm body.

      • Eric - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:34 AM

        A temper tantrum? Is that what “wild pitch” means now?

    • karlkolchak - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:31 AM

      Heck, I was frustrated with way the team was performing, and my cat is still traumatized by the flying stuffed screech toy that nearly hit it broadside. But does that mean I should pitch tomorrow?

      • Hiram Hover - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:52 AM

        So you’re saying you can match Mattheus wild pitch for wild pitch?

  17. stoatva - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    For what it’s worth, Storen pretty much stunk up Syracuse when he got sent down last year. Didn’t seem to have anything to do with his performance when he got recalled. [shrugs]

    • Eric - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:34 AM

      Storen also stunk it up mightily in spring training, as did Soriano…

      I’m not a *huge* fan of Mattheus, but I’ll reserve judgement of his 2014 season until he’s pitched in the MLB a few times.

      • stoatva - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:43 AM

        When he’s pitching well, he’s awfully good. But we haven’t seen much of that in a while.

      • NatsLady - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:52 AM

        Agree. Clip was fine in Spring Training, and the cold weather got him (or the flu, or whatever). Can’t go by Spring Training.

      • tcostant - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        I agree. He been a big league pitcher in the past and I’m assuming he can answer that bell until he shows me otherwise.

  18. Eric - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    And lo, the day was dark and dreary, hope a derelict vanguard waning to a sliver on the rear horizon.

    But hark! The core manifestation of a beloved firmament emerges from the morass ahead, its shape growing ever clearer as the day proceeds. One by one the downtrodden faithful raise their weary eyes until finally a voice cuts through the laden air. It carries a simple message that gladdens the hearts of those trudging through the muck:

    “There’s a game today!”

    • adcwonk - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:48 AM

      Translation: the weather matched our mood yesterday, but there’s a new game today!

    • thelatencn - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:49 AM

      What he said.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:02 AM

      Or, as Ernie Banks might say, ‘Let’s play two!”

    • natsfan1a - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      Awesome post, even though I won’t be watching in real time given the later start time.

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:00 PM


  19. natsfan24 - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    Any hate for Mattheus and refer back to game 1 of the NLDS. Bases loaded, no outs, and he gets out of it with 0 runs, 0 hits, a K, and a DP.

  20. jd - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:50 AM


    I think it’s time to move on from the playoffs 2 years ago. We have to stop defining players by what they did in a 5 game series 2 years ago.

    • NatsLady - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      Agreed. ESPECIALLY Drew Storen. (OK, but not Jayson Werth.)

      • cayucosbaseballconservancy - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:00 PM

        Werth is definitely NOT the defensive outfielder he was 2 years ago. So Werth as well.

    • cayucosbaseballconservancy - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:59 AM

      That’s not how Rizzo and the FO plus MW and the coaches do it. That NLDS game still gets Mattheus lots of traction. Especially after Barrett came in and through out the walks even with the bases loaded.

    • Hiram Hover - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:00 PM


      It’s fine to remember and cherish a great game, but you have to evaluate the player by his overall performance. And Mattheus’ overall performance is not good. His WHIP places him 144th among 171 qualifying relievers since 2011.

      In an emergency, he’ll do–cross your fingers and hope for the best. I don’t hate him, but I don’t expect a lot out of him, and the numbers tell me that’s a reasonable expectation.

      • cayucosbaseballconservancy - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:01 PM

        Mattheus now sees that he wasn’t permanently exiled to the minors for the new fair haired boy Barrett. I expect you’ll see some great performances.

    • adcwonk - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:09 PM

      Then let us also not define Mattheus by his defeat at the hands of the locker he punched?

  21. sunshinebobby - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    I agree Mattheus is no long-term solution and may very well be cannon fodder. But look who he’s replacing? TJ has been absolutely brutal this year, and appears overmatched at the big league level. This is all just finger in the dykes until Fister gets going.

    Or somebody else gets hurt.

    • ArVAFan - Apr 29, 2014 at 2:28 PM

      dikes. Please.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:06 PM

        Actually, outside the U.S. (and maybe Canada), “dykes” is the standard spelling for the earthen dam.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:12 PM

        Ok, I even looked it up this time:

  22. dgourds - Apr 29, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    Through the retrospectoscope, do you think Williams should have used Detweiler as the temporary #5 instead of Taylor Jordan? I personally don’t think so. I think Williams/Rizzo made the right move there. Tanner Roark is a bonified major league starter. They needed long help in the Bullpen and also lefty help. Det was a good fit there, especially since he had previously done pretty well in the Bullpen. TJ had little experience in the Bullpen and is projected to be a starter. It was either use him as #5, or send him to AAA. Maybe Ross Olendorf would have been a better choice, but TJ did show some signs of promise (although I’ve never really loved him). Maybe Det should have been the #5 and Olendorf the long reliever. But Ole is righty, leaving you with less versatility. All I know is that I’m glad Roark got a chance to prove himself. I love that guy! One of my favorites on the team and one of the few bright spots of this very mediocre season so far.

  23. philipd763 - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    Rewarding a relief pitcher who has a 5.40 ERA with a promotion seems ludicrous!

    • DaveB - Apr 29, 2014 at 6:01 PM

      ERAs for relief pitchers (especially in the minors) can be very misleading. Ryan had a 2.8 ERA through his first 7 games, with no runs given up in 5 of those 7 and 2 Saves. He then had one bad outing, giving up 3 runs with just 1 out to balloon his ERA to 5.4 …. unless you were there, it’s hard to tell whether that game had any significance or not.

  24. Joe Seamhead - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    Actually, I like Mattheus as a pitcher, will never forget the jam he got the team out of in 2012, and I really want him to do well. That said, he’ll always be a knucklehead in my book. When he put himself on the DL last year the team was already struggling, but was far from beyond salvage. The likes of HRod, and Dukes failing left that team with few bullpen options to turn to. Not re-signing Sean Burnette was the correct move by Rizzo, as it turned out, but Mattheus had very good career numbers against LH batters and was seriously being counted on along with Stamman to be the middle reliever. He left his team, and manager in a bad situation. And for those of you that might say that I overstate how devastating the loss of Ryan was will never convince me. The only thing that was even close to good that came of it was that Ian Kroll got moved up and performed terrific for about a month.

    • letswin3 - Apr 30, 2014 at 4:48 PM

      What’s the WHIP for that locker?

    • letswin3 - Apr 30, 2014 at 4:55 PM

      Sorry, Joe. I just needed to let off a little steam. I always thought he gave us something both on the mound in relief and in the bullpen itself … he has a great sense of humor that can be a team-builder, but his temper just took over for that split-second and made for a very bad result. Actually, I wish him well and grant him absolution, unless he ever does anything like that again.





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