Could Giolito pitch Sunday for Hagerstown? (updated)

The low Single-A Hagerstown Suns have now placed a “to be determined” for Sunday’s starting pitcher against Asheville.

Previously, Nick Pivetta was in that spot, but he was placed on the disabled list Friday. Pivetta is 7-2 with a 3.27 ERA.

Nationals top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito, who hasn’t pitched in a game since May 11, is a candidate for Sunday’s start. Monday’s pitching probable is also listed as “TBD”, so that could also be Giolito’s turn. The Nationals told me they are managing Giolito’s innings.

Updated: The Nationals still don’t know when Giolito will pitch. From what I can gather, it does not appear to be Sunday.

There has been speculation that you don’t manage innings without something being wrong injury-wise. But as I wrote this week, Giolito is just two years removed from high school and Tommy John surgery, so let’s take this day by day and see what happens after Giolito’s next start before thinking worst-case scenario. After all, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann weren’t teenagers fresh out of grade school when they had to have Tommy John.

The Suns are now 33-13 (.717), leading the Northern Division by a robust 17 games in the South Atlantic League.

I know I keep having fun with this, and the Nationals like to tease manager Patrick Anderson a bit, but Anderson is now 85-22 (.794). His GCL Nats won the title last season after a 52-9 campaign. Great coaching and great talent to play .800 baseball, seriously.

Outfielder Wilman Rodriguez has been placed on the disabled list. Infielder Drew Ward has been activated from the temporary inactive list.

Ward returned to go 2-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs in their 6-5 win over Asheville. He is batting .280 playing third base.

Second baseman Wilmer Difo went 2-for-5 with two runs and a RBI. Difo is hitting .323. Catcher Spencer Kieboom was 3-for-5 with two doubles and is hitting .333. James Yezzo had two RBIs and John Wooten is batting .309.

The 6-5 win was another walk-off victory. Amazingly, the Suns are now 4-8 when trailing after eight innings.

Down 5-4, Difo led off with a single. Ward quickly brought him home with a double and the game was tied 5-5. Ward got to third on a single by Wooten. Two hitters later, Yezzo brought home Ward with the winning run and the Suns won 6-5.

* Double-A Harrisburg announced that left-hander Zach Kroenke was signed by the Nationals and will pitch for the Senators. Kroenke had a no-decision against Bowie Friday, going four innings, allowing seven hits, four runs, two of them earned, one homer and two walks. He struck out three Baysox hitters.

Kroenke is a Nebraska Cornhusker out of Omaha Northwest High School, and he was a fifth-round selection of the Yankees in 2005.

Infielder Sean Nicol has been transferred to Harrisburg from Syracuse.

Catcher Brandon Bantz has been released by the Nationals. Catcher Mitch Canham has been activated from the disabled list while infielder Justin Bloxom was placed on the disabled list.

* The high Single-A Potomac Nationals announced they have received right-hander Ryan Ullmann, who was promoted from Hagerstown. Right-hander Ian Dickson has been transferred to Hagerstown.

Ullmann has been a star for the Suns bullpen (see what I did there), going 1-0 with a 0.77 ERA in nine games over 23 1/3 innings with 19 strikeouts and six walks. In his first game for the P-Nats Friday at Salem, the 6-foot-6, 230 lbs., Ullmann allowed four hits, two runs, both earned, no walks and struck out three. I will chalk that one up to getting acclimated in the Carolina League. I expect Ullmann to settle in and pitch very well very soon for the P-Nats.

Updated: Just as quickly as Ullmann is called up, the move has been switched back. Ullmann returns to Hagerstown and Dickson is back with Potomac.

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