Top prospect Giolito doing well, but no promotion yet (plus minor league notes)

The Nationals' top prospect, right-hander Lucas Giolito, has now made three starts for the rookie level Gulf Coast Nationals, and with each start he makes improvements.

On July 15, Giolito made his longest start, going three innings, allowing three hits, no runs, one walk and striking out three batters. The 19-year old is 0-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three games, totaling just 5 1/3 innings.

It is a small sample size, but still lots of fans are asking when Giolito will be moved to short-season Single-A Auburn or low Single-A Hagerstown.

The Nationals have told me they believe Giolito is in a good place at this point in his comeback. They want Giolito to continue to get innings and experience with the GCL Nats, building slowly as he comes back from major ligament replacement surgery.

Giolito is only 19 and there is no hurry. This experience of facing live hitters in the GCL is invaluable, and the promotions will come when he is ready. Right now, it is all about Giolito building and working towards his next start.

* This year's first selection out of Dallas Baptist, right-hander Jake Johansen, is at Auburn, and excelled again July 17 in his longest start of the season. Johansen went 4 2/3 innings, surrendering three hits, one run and two walks with six strikeouts. Johansen is now 0-0 with a 1.04 ERA in five starts, spanning 17 1/3 innings.

* Double-A Harrisburg first baseman Justin Bloxom had the big night for the Senators in their 12-3 rout of Akron. The switch-hitter went 2-for-5 with a home run and five RBIs. He is 10-29 (.345) in his last nine games to raise his average to .240. Bloxom with six homers and 52 RBIs in 91 games. His on-base percentage is .463 during this nine-game rush.

Right-handed starter Nathan Karns was outstanding over eight innings. He retired 16 consecutive hitters following a base hit in the third inning. Karns gave up three hits, two runs, three walks and struck out seven to improve to 7-3.

* Triple-A Syracuse crushed four home runs in an 11-4 defeat of Rochester. Corey Brown had two round-trippers, while Chris Rahl and Eury Perez cranked the other homers in the win. Brown has three multi-homer games on the season.

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