Ohlendorf to start for Nats on Wednesday, Garcia will remain a reliever

The two rainouts over the last two days gave the Nationals a chance to rest some banged-up players and get a bit of a breather after a 10-1 whipping at the hands of the Mets on Wednesday.

It also allowed them to not need to call up a starter to pitch today against the Twins, but that was only a temporary fix. Tomorrow’s doubleheader will leave the Nats short of rested starters Wednesday, meaning they’ll need to bring up someone to make a start against the Rockies in Colorado.

That guy will be Ross Ohlendorf, per a team source.

Ohlendorf was originally set to be called up to pitch today, but rainouts Thursday and Friday allowed the Nats to push back Gio Gonzalez and Nathan Karns, eliminating the need for Ohlendorf. The weather ruined the veteran right-hander’s chance to make his Nats debut, but he’ll instead get that chance in Colorado on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-4 righty has a 4.27 ERA with Triple-A Syracuse this season. He allowed two runs on one hit over five innings in a start last night, putting him on track to pitch Wednesday on normal rest. Ohlendorf now has allowed just three earned runs and struck out 27 over his last three outings, spanning 17 1/3 innings.

Meanwhile, Christian Garcia, who has been out since mid-February with a torn ligament in his right forearm, was promoted to Syracuse this week after making three rehab appearances at Double-A Harrisburg.

Manager Davey Johnson said that Garcia will likely need another three or four outings before his rehab stint is complete, and said at that point, the team will assess where it’s at before determining whether to activate Garcia and put him on the big league roster.

“Christian is making a good comeback,” manager Davey Johnson said. “Spring was kind of useless for him, so he’s kind of going through another spring. I don’t think his arm strength is back to where it needs to be. That’ll only come from pitching. Last time out, he went two innings and his arm strength was better. I think he was topping out around 93 (mph).

Garcia really impressed the Nationals after his call-up from Syracuse late last season, posting a 2.13 ERA and striking out 15 in 13 relief appearances. Despite having just those 13 big league appearances under his belt, Garcia then made the postseason roster and appeared in two games against the Cardinals in the National League Division Series.

The Nationals came into spring planning to stretch Garcia out and make him a starter, but the injury threw those plans off. Because we’re already into June, the Nats have decided not to take the time stretching Garcia out, and they will keep him as a reliever, albeit one that can work multiple innings.

“Everybody knows I wanted to stretch him out and have him as a backup starter, because I like his stuff. But that’s out of the question for this year,” Johnson said.

“I still think of him, it would be waste to just use that for one inning here or there. I still think he has multiple big league innings in him.”

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