It has been a big week for right-handed reliever Patrick Lehman. The George Washington University product went from being activated from the disabled list with the Single-A Potomac Nationals to a promotion to the Double-A Harrisburg Senators in a matter of two games.
At Potomac, Lehman was an impressive 2-0 with a 1.72 ERA and a team-leading seven saves. He tallied 11 strikeouts in 13 games with just three earned runs.
Lehman was cruising along early for the P-Nats, acclimating himself to his new role as the team’s closer. Then, he felt some elbow tightness in late May and the team placed him on the seven-day disabled list.
“It was elbow tightness,” Lehman said. “It was out of the ordinary, something I didn’t normally feel. So it was a precautionary move to the DL. I took it day by day. I rehabbed it a little. I did a lot of stretching. Everything is back to normal.
“After a few days of just rest and getting back to throwing, you kind of knew it wasn’t anything that serious. It was really just a little bit of inflammation and some tightness.”
Lehman said last week’s return to the lineup in Woodbridge, Va., boosted his confidence.
“It felt good,” Lehman said. “It felt like normal. It was good to get back out there and get a little adrenalin throwing.”
Potomac Nationals pitching coach Paul Menhart said the organization takes great care in making sure each pitcher is fully recovered before they return to the lineup. Lehman had quite a few bullpen sessions during rehab to make sure he was ready to go.
“I could see when he got out there that the stuff was back,” Menhart said. “He rehabbed wonderfully. He looked like the old Patrick. We put him in a situation where he had a nice clean inning to work out of. He looked great.”
After another scoreless outing, Lehman was promoted to Harrisburg. He allowed one run in his first outing, but then rebounded Sunday with 2/3 of an inning without allowing a run.
Lehman feels his arm will be fine after the elbow tightness last month and said he doesn’t see any aftereffects when he comes on in relief compared to being a starter in the past.
As for his alma mater, he was thrilled to see another George Washington pitcher drafted by the Nationals last week in left-hander Bobby Lucas Jr.
“I was very excited to see his name called,” Lehman said. “He is a great guy. I played with him for three years at GW. We are about the same age. He was always a great leader on our team. He is a great pitcher to have in the organization.
“There is definitely a history there of getting guys to the professional level (at GW). Hopefully, we can keep the streak going next year.”