Abbott is latest fresh arm to get called up

Needing a fresh arm to help get them through today’s day-night doubleheader, the Nationals recalled right-hander Cory Abbott from Triple-A and optioned reliever Andres Machado to Rochester.

Abbott was today’s scheduled starter for Rochester in Scranton, so he’s available for length should the Nats need it either in relief of Game 1 starter Joan Adon or nightcap starter Paolo Espino.

“The biggest thing was bringing up a guy who could give us multiple innings if need be,” manager Davey Martinez said.

Abbott, 26, has big-league experience, pitching seven games last season for the Cubs, allowing 13 earned runs on 20 hits and 11 walks over 17 1/3 innings. The Giants acquired him in April, then the Nationals claimed him off waivers in May and sent him to Triple-A to pitch as both a starter and reliever.

In six games spanning 13 innings for Rochester, Abbott allowed 13 runs on 17 hits, walking nine but striking out 18.

“We’re looking forward, if we get an opportunity to get him into the game, to see what he does,” Martinez said. “He’s a guy who has been in the big leagues before with Chicago. Interesting kind of guy, as far as his mix of pitches. He’s available. He’s a starter, so he can give us 70-80 pitches if need be.”

Ideally, the Nats hope not to need Abbott today, but that will depend on Adon and Espino pitching deep enough in their respective starts to make a long reliever unnecessary. They also have left-hander Evan Lee available for multiple innings out of the bullpen.

All this after a brutal stretch that has seen starting pitchers total only 19 2/3 innings during a five-game losing streak against the Brewers, Braves and Phillies.

“It’s been tough, because as we all know, our starters haven’t gone deep,” Martinez said. “So our bullpen has been covering a lot of innings. Some of these guys are throwing one-plus innings, which makes it tough. So we want to make sure we don’t overuse them. Having a guy who can come out of the bullpen today and give us length, with (Evan) Lee, helps a lot. Hopefully Adon gives us five good innings, and we’ve got the lead and we can do something else.”

Machado returns to Triple-A after making four appearances in seven days, each of them multiple-inning appearances, each of them with a pitch count that topped 30. In 17 total big league outings this season, the 29-year-old has a 5.48 ERA and 1.522 WHIP.

Such has been life for pitchers in this organization this week. The Nationals have now called up four pitchers from Rochester this week (Abbott, Adon, Reed Garrett and Jackson Tetreault) while removing Machado, Jordan Weems, Stephen Strasburg (injury) and utility man Dee Strange-Gordon from the active roster.

“It’s difficult, because they all want to be here,” Martinez said. “But I think at the end of the day, they understand a part of the game is when you have options, these things happen. It’s a necessity. Sometimes it’s not necessarily what you’ve done, it’s just where we’re at and the position we’re in. We’ve played a lot of games. We’re going to play 14 games in 13 days. It’s part of the game. I always tell them: Go down there, keep working, keep doing what you’re doing … As soon as something else happens, just be ready when you’re called upon.”

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