The Nationals announced today they are activating right-hander Henry Rodriguez - the flame-throwing reliever at the center of last winter's Josh Willingham trade - from the 15-day disabled list. To make room for Rodriguez, they put right-hander Chad Gaudin on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, retroactive to April 26.
Rodriguez started the year on the DL with neck spasms after losing his command in spring training, but had a 0.73 ERA in nine games at Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse. He walked six batters in 12 1/3 innings, but struck out 16.
What you're getting with Rodriguez is a completely different look to the bullpen; he'll be wild at times, but he can touch 100 mph on the radar gun regularly. The Nationals went after a number of power arms this winter, and they'd viewed Rodriguez as a possible setup man or closer. If he can throw strikes, he could be a major asset - but that's a big if.
Gaudin threw two pitches behind hitters in his last outing on Monday, and his shoulder troubles might have been the cause of the loss of control. But when the Nationals had to make a decision on Rodriguez - they would have had to call him up by May 7 or risk losing him on waivers - Gaudin was one of the likely candidates to be lifted out anyway. He'll go on the disabled list instead, and by the time he gets back, something else could have changed in the bullpen.
I'll be filling in for Ray Knight on Nats Xtra tonight at 6:30, so make sure to tune in. That might or might not force me to postpone tonight's live chat, but I'll keep you posted. If it does, we'll reschedule it for sometime in the next couple days.