ATLANTA - Apparently Davey Johnson isn’t the only guy who is unsure of how exactly Taylor Jordan suffered the lower back injury that landed him on the disabled list yesterday, essentially bringing his 2013 season to an end.
Jordan isn’t entirely sure, either.
The rookie right-hander first felt the back issue (diagnosed by the Nationals as a lower right back strain) after he got out of a dentist’s chair early this week, but he doesn’t know exactly when discomfort originated. He does, however, want to make sure his dentist doesn’t get a bad rap or get blamed for his injury.
“It wasn’t like the dentist did anything,” Jordan said with a laugh.
The back issue brought Jordan’s season to a premature end, as the Nats decided to just shut him down rather than risk bringing him back just to make another start or two when he might not be full strength. Jordan had worked 142 total innings this season, pretty much right smack-dab in the middle of the 135-155 inning limit that the Nats had set for him this season, so the timing of the injury wasn’t all that bad.
“I mean it was inevitable anyway,” Jordan said. “A couple more starts, probably, but whatever.”
Jordan will remain with the Nats through the rest of the season, giving him a chance to soak up even more knowledge and continue to consult with the Nationals’ coaches as he looks forward to next season.
It was quite a year for the 24-year-old, who started the year having not pitched above low Single-A Hagerstown. He opened the season at high Single-A Potomac, was bumped up to Double-A Harrisburg after just six starts, and then made the leap to the majors after just nine outings with the Senators.
All this after not even being a part of big league spring training, other than a spot start against the Cardinals in a split-squad game.
“I wasn’t expecting to be up here,” Jordan said. “My highest goal was to be here by September, but that was my highest goal. (It) wasn’t even really necessarily a realistic goal for me. But I got here before the All-Star break.”
With the Nats, Jordan pitched to a 3.66 ERA in nine starts. He showed off a nice hard two-seam fastball, a biting changeup and made significant improvements with his slider in his six weeks in the bigs.
“Hopefully what I did impressed them enough for me to have a chance to be up here next year,” Jordan said.
Apparently it did; Davey Johnson said yesterday that Jordan most certainly did enough this season to put himself in the mix for a spot in the Nats rotation next season.
Jordan isn’t done tinkering and trying to improve, however. He wants to add to his arsenal this offseason.
“I kinda want to get a new pitch. I kinda want to develop a cutter,” Jordan said. “I think that might be useful for me for lefties. I think I’m gonna develop something like that.
“I haven’t even told anybody yet. This is just my own thoughts. I think a cutter is a good pitch. Everyone seems to throw one and everyone’s always talking about it. ‘Oh, he’s throwing a cutter in there.’ No one says that about a sinker, really. They say, ‘Oh, he’s sinking it.’ But it’s not a big deal.”
Jordan might not have been invited to big league camp last spring, but he’ll most certainly be there in 2014, with a legitimate shot to stick in the Nats rotation for quite some time.
Update: The rain is gone, the tarp is off the field, and we’re set for a 2:10 p.m. start, according to a press box announcement.
Let’s get this thing going, shall we?