Johnson eyes Triple-A Syracuse to call up top pitching talent

Following the Nationals’ sixth consecutive loss Friday night, manager Davey Johnson admitted the organization is seriously considering calling up some of its talent from the pitching staff at Triple-A Syracuse.

Johnson referenced both starters and relievers that would be available either to replace a struggling pitcher here, or fill a roster spot of a player that was traded. But make no mistake, Johnson was clear that they believe there could be at least two pitchers currently in Triple-A he would call up.

“We are looking at things we can do to help the ballclub,” Johnson said. “We are still in that building mode. There are some moves available to us. We have a couple of guys knocking on the door, pitchers in particular. Depending what happens in the next couple of days we will obviously need a young arm up here.”

Johnson said Chien-Ming Wang could help the Nationals improve the starting rotation. Wang would become more crucial if Jason Marquis is traded before Sunday’s trade deadline.

Two starters at Syracuse have put together solid performances that have drawn the attention of the Nationals, and the organization may be ready to give them a shot.

(Tommy) Milone has done a great job down there,” Johnson said. “He has probably been, if not the best pitcher, one of the best pitchers in the International League. Young (Brad) Peacock came up and threw a one-hitter. He tore up Double-A.”

Southpaw Milone has gone 8-6 with a 3.62 ERA in 19 starts with an astounding 120 strikeouts to just 10 walks. Righty Peacock went 12-4 with a 2.75 ERA at Double-A Harrisburg and has won two starts in a row at Triple-A, including seven innings plus one batter with one hit allowed in his last start.

Then there is the possibility a reliever from Syracuse could get the call to the big leagues. Baylor’s Jeff Mandel and George Washington’s Josh Wilkie have pitched consistently all season long. Recently, they combined to allow just one earned run in 20 outings.

“There are some guys I would like to get some experience up here,” Johnson said. “Either out of the ‘pen or in the rotation, there are some guys that can fill that little void of innings and they could be my short guys.”

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