CINCINNATI - Dusty Baker knows who his starting pitcher will be for tomorrow’s series opener in Anaheim. He’s just not ready to make an announcement yet.
“It’s the same as yesterday: I can’t tell you yet,” Baker said before Monday’s series finale against the Reds at Great American Ball Park. “There’s an update. Same as yesterday.”
However, general manager Mike Rizzo, in an interview this morning on MLB Network Radio on XM, said that right-hander Edwin Jackson would get the call for Tuesday’s game.
While we wait for the official word that Jackson’s contract has been selected from Triple-A Syracuse, right-hander Jacob Turner has rejoined the Nationals from Syracuse, his contract also purchased from the Chiefs. Righty Koda Glover was transferred from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day DL to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Turner, who assumes the departed Blake Treinen’s place on the 25-man roster.
“We were pitching short,” Baker said. “We really didn’t have any length. ... We put Koda on the 60-day because it’s been 30 or more days already, so we probably figure that hopefully he’ll be ready at the end of the next 30 days. Like I said, he hasn’t really started throwing yet, so it’ll take him a while to get back once he is healthy.”
Turner joins the Nats for a second stint this season, having previously been designated for assignment and outrighted to Triple-A. He’s 2-3 with a 5.08 ERA in 18 games, including two starts. As a reliever, he’s 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 16 games.
Injured center fielder Michael A. Taylor, on the 10-day DL with a right oblique strain, continues to do core work to strengthen the muscle area. The Nationals are taking a conservative approach with Taylor so they don’t repeat the scenario that center fielder Ben Revere encountered last season.
“We want to get him right so when he is back, he doesn’t have to worry about it,” Baker said. “You remember how it was last year with Ben Revere. Same kind of thing where Ben was out a while, then when he came back, he was a little apprehensive to take a swing and then you’d see him grab his side. We were always wondering, was he 100 percent or not? He said, ‘Yeah,’ but I’d say, ‘Why you keep grabbing your side?’ So it’s a situation we wouldn’t want to take later in the season or in the postseason.”
Newly acquired relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson will join the Nationals on Tuesday in Anaheim. When they’re added to the 25-man roster - righties Austin Adams and Trevor Gott seem likeliest to be sent down - the Nationals could have four left-handers (Doolittle, Oliver Pérez, Matt Grace and Enny Romero) and three right-handers (Madson, Matt Albers and Joe Blanton).
The odd bullpen configuration doesn’t worry Baker, whose only concern is whether the relievers can get guys out.
“I don’t care if I have all righties if they can get out everybody, or if I have all lefties,” he said. “The key is to get ‘em out. Everybody wants a left - I love lefties - but a bad lefty, is that better than a good righty? Just because he’s left-handed? Or because a guy’s right-handed? That’s what you want, you want quality. And I think we’re approaching that big time.”
Still Baker understands that the loss of Treinen, one of the more popular players in the clubhouse, will be felt.
“Everybody was saddened to see Blake go, but you understand,” Baker said. “He was a real popular guy in the clubhouse, one of the spiritual leaders in the clubhouse. It’s the overall good dude with great talent. But in order to get the two guys that we got, you gotta give up something to get something. I’ve talked to Bob Melvin, who was one of my guys when I was a batting coach with the Giants, and I’m close with Bo-Mel and I know he’ll tell me the truth. He called me and told me we got two of his best guys, not only on the field and off the field.”
Righty reliever Shawn Kelley’s flat ground and long toss work over the weekend must have gone well because he’s scheduled to throw a bullpen session today or tomorrow, Baker said. Kelley has been on the 10-day disabled list since June 18 (retroactive to June 17) with a right trapezius strain.
Glover remains in West Palm Beach, working to strengthen his bad back. If and when he and Kelley return, there will be a little bit of a logjam in the bullpen, which could necessitate some roster creativity. But Baker’s not thinking that far ahead just now.
“I’ll worry about that when it gets here,” the manager said.