ATLANTA - The final outing of Taylor Jordan’s 2013 season will be the six innings he threw against the Braves last night, in which he allowed just two unearned runs.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson said before tonight’s game against the Braves that Jordan, who was put on the disabled list today with a right lower back strain, will not pitch again this season.
The combination of Jordan’s injury and the fact that he’s near his team-imposed innings limit set for this season led Johnson and general manager Mike Rizzo to make the determination that Jordan will be shut down.
“We didn’t want to shut him down, but again, he was going to be shut down (after) a couple more starts,” Johnson said. “With the back problem, you don’t want a guy coming out there and hurting his arm with something bothering his delivery. So that became a no-brainer then.”
Johnson had mentioned on Wednesday that Jordan had suffered some type of back injury while sitting in a dentist’s chair, but it wasn’t anything that prevented him from pitching last night. Following his outing against the Braves last night, however, Johnson says Jordan received more treatment on the back, and that’s when the Nationals decided to put Jordan on the DL and shut him down for this season.
“It was later in the day after everybody had basically left when we talked to Rizzo about the problem, that it was a recurring problem, that it was the best thing to shut him down,” Johnson said.
Jordan will finish the season having thrown 142 innings between high Single-A Potomac, Double-A Harrisburg and the majors, significantly more work than he’s had in any other season as a pro. The 24-year-old’s previous season-high was 94 1/3 innings in 2011 before he tore his UCL and needed Tommy John surgery.
With the Nats this season, Jordan went 1-3 with an impressive 3.66 ERA in 51 2/3 innings over eight starts.
“I really liked his maturity,” Johnson said. “He had good poise on the mound, his release times to home plate were really good. His stuff and location got better as he’s been up here, and his slider was his third pitch and it became equally as good as his fastball/changeup. So he’s got a good future up here.”
The question now is whether that future includes a spot in the Nationals rotation in 2014. The last two seasons, the Nationals have gone out and signed a veteran starter to a one-year deal to fill out their rotation (Edwin Jackson last year and Dan Haren this year), but Johnson believes Jordan has what it takes to be in the mix for the No. 5 spot next season.
“There’s no question about it,” Johnson said. “No question about it. He’s got good stuff, good command. He’s still very young at it, but he showed that he belongs up here.”
The timing with Jordan being shut down works out nicely, as Ross Ohlendorf is ready to be activated off the disabled list following his second rehab start last night. Pitching for high Single-A Potomac, Ohlendorf went four innings and allowed three runs. The Nats feel he’s now ready to return to the majors and slide into their rotation in Jordan’s spot.
“He’ll probably join us in Chicago,” Johnson said. “He was feeling fine after his outing. His arm felt good. His velocity was fine. And he has no re-occurrence of the problem he had before when he went on the DL. So he’ll join us there.”