ATLANTA - Sammy Solís pitched a key scoreless inning during Tuesday night’s victory over the Braves. Turns out he did so with something less than a perfectly healthy left arm.
The Nationals placed Solís on the 10-day disabled list today with elbow inflammation, an injury that is not believed to be serious but was concerning enough to convince the club to shelve its top left-handed reliever for the rest of a daunting road trip.
Needing to remove somebody from the active roster to clear a spot for Joe Ross, who is making his season debut tonight, the Nats elected to go with Solís, even though his ailment is not expected to sideline him for long.
“We’re hoping that the 10-day period will be long enough, and we’re hoping that actually he’ll feel better in a week,” manager Dusty Baker said. “But we couldn’t afford to go short, especially when our bullpen has kind of been overworked. We’re going to New York, and we’re going to Colorado, so we just couldn’t overtax the rest of our bullpen. He’s doing so-so, but I think we made the right move.”
Solís appeared in six of the Nationals’ first 13 games, though he also warmed up a few times without entering a game, adding to his true workload.
Though he pitched a scoreless eighth inning Tuesday night, and though his fastball velocity was normal, Baker said he detected a “difference” in the rotation on Solís’ breaking ball, perhaps evidence of a physical ailment.
Solís had Tommy John surgery as a minor leaguer in 2012. He has made three previous trips to the major league DL: twice for shoulder inflammation, once for a sore right knee.
With Solís sidelined until at least April 29, the Nationals will be down to seven total relievers in their bullpen, two lefties: Oliver Pérez and Enny Romero. Pérez has not appeared in a game in 11 days, but Baker said nothing is wrong with the veteran. He simply hasn’t had opportunities to use Pérez in matchup situations against left-handed batters, but he expects that to change this weekend against the Mets’ lefty-heavy lineup.
Meanwhile, shortstop Trea Turner played in an extended spring training game in West Palm Beach, Fla., today, one of the final steps in his rehab from a mild hamstring strain. Turner was eligible to come off the 10-day DL today, but the Nationals wanted him to get some at-bats and game action first.
All went well today, according to Baker.
“He even stole a base,” the manager said. “I had urged him not to try to steal, but when running’s in your blood, it’s in your blood. Hopefully he’ll be back in a couple days.”
Update: Two innings into this game, one cold, hard truth is irrefutable: Bryce Harper owns Julio Teheran. Not just a little bit. Complete ownership. Harper entered this game having hit five homers in 32 career at-bats vs. Teheran. He has now hit seven in 34 career at-bats. Yes, Harper has homered twice in the first two innings, with a solo blast to right-center in the top of the first and then a grand slam to center field in the top of the second.
Harper’s updated career numbers against the Braves ace: 15-for-33, with seven homers, three doubles and a 1.717 OPS. That’s really, really, really, really good.
Harper has driven in five of the Nationals’ six runs, with the other coming on Adam Eaton’s single to left in the top of the second. Eaton has now reached base in all 13 games he has started this season.
The Braves scored a pair off Ross in the bottom of the first, getting RBI singles from both Nick Markakis and Brandon Phillips. Ross had trouble getting the ball down in the zone in that first inning, but he was better in the second, striking out both Jace Peterson and Ender Inciarte.