Nationals right-hander Blake Treinen could see work out of the bullpen in the next couple of games after his start was rained out Tuesday, according to manager Matt Williams.
Treinen said he is happy with any arrangement, as long as he gets a shot at pitching.
"I am here to help in any way I can," Treinen said. "If the game gets delayed, I will throw in my next opportunity and I will make the most of it."
But on Wednesday, the Nationals used six relievers in their marathon 10-inning 8-5 loss to the Marlins. If Treinen wasn't going to get in a game like that, one that lasted close to four hours, it would appear the Nationals might just relegate Treinen to emergency reliever status over the weekend against the Rangers.
That is because left-hander Gio Gonzalez is still on the disabled list, and won't be activated any time soon.
"Gio, I don't think he will be back in five days," Williams said. "He still has got to go to bullpen, simulated game, probably a rehab start. That is the schedule we are on."
Williams also said if they don't get Treinen in a game, he might even pitch a simulated game as well.
Treinen made three relief appearances for the Nationals early in the season - on April 12, 14 and 17. Each outing was less than three innings. He allowed only one earned run in those outings. He has a 1.35 ERA as a reliever.
In his May 6 start against the Dodgers, he allowed three runs, none of them earned, made one fielding miscue and lost the game. On May 22 at Pittsburgh, Treinen went 5 2/3 innings, allowed four hits, two runs five walks and one strikeout in a 3-1 loss.
Treinen said switching to coming out of the bullpen from being the starter is not a difficult transition because he has done both roles.
"Just changes my job on a particular day," Treinen said. "I have had the opportunity to come up here and throw out of the bullpen earlier this year and it has been a blessing. I know how to approach the bullpen a little bit better and I'll do the best I can to help the team. Whenever they throw me the ball, I am going to go out and pitch."
Treinen said preparing for warmups as a reliever is a bit different than as a starter because you get the call that you are coming into the game versus a methodical lead-up to a start. But that is OK with Treinen because he can be ready to pitch at a moment's notice.
"I have always been fairly quick at getting loose," Treinen said. "So as a starter I kind of have to pace myself a little more. Out of the bullpen, it has been maybe a slightly different transition, but it hasn't been anything I haven't been able to get ready for a game."
Treinen said most of his minor league seasons have been half as a starter and half as a reliever.
The next opportunity for Treinen to start and his place in the rotation arrives on June 3 at home against the Phillies. But because they have built-in off days today and Monday, Jordan Zimmermann would have six days rest and could easily get back out there and start, thereby skipping Treinen's start. Treinen could then get relief work this weekend without messing up his timing to pitch.
But the Nationals already have a strong bullpen. And they brought Treinen here to substitute for Gonzalez as a starter. So they could keep Treinen in rhythm as a starter and give him that Tuesday start against Philadelphia.