Kuhl reinstated to bullpen, Harris optioned to Rochester

kuhl pitches grey

The Nationals have made their decision on Chad Kuhl. He was officially reinstated from the 15-day injured list, while Hobie Harris was optioned to Triple-A Rochester.

Kuhl had been on the  IL with a right foot issue since April 30 and threw 65 pitches over four simulated innings Monday. He played catch yesterday before the Nats made their final decision on the roster move.

The other intriguing part of his return is that the Nationals plan to utilize him out of the bullpen. That is so they can both monitor his innings while he provides length in the ‘pen and keep Jake Irvin in the rotation.

“It gives us length in the bullpen, which will be nice,” manager Davey Martinez said during his pregame media session. “But he's just coming back, so I want to make sure, as we do this, that he probably gets clean innings. But he definitely gives us multiple innings if we need. The last sim game, he threw the ball exceptionally well. He was up in the mid-90s with his fastball, was throwing strikes. Slider was really, really good. So that was encouraging. So we'll get him in the bullpen and get him going. And then we'll see where it takes us.”

Other options included having him go on a minor league rehab assignment to build up his pitch count more. The Nats also could have kept him here to pitch another sim game. Or they could have activated him back into the rotation and optioned Irvin back to Rochester.

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Game 46 lineups: Nats vs. Tigers

corbin fires white

Happy Star Wars Day from Nationals Park! The team is giving away dueling light side vs. dark side Hawaiian shirts to fans today, so make sure you get to the gates on time.

On the field, the pitching duel sees Patrick Corbin making his 10th start of the season for the light side and Alex Faedo starting for the dark side.

Corbin is 2-5 with a 4.65 ERA and 1.430 WHIP entering this afternoon’s game. He has pitched much better over his last six starts, to the tune of a 3.47 ERA, though he is only 1-3 in those outings and the Nats have split them evenly.

Faedo is the only right-hander scheduled to start for the Tigers this weekend. The 27-year-old former first-round pick is making his third start of the season. He is 0-1 with a 4.22 ERA over his first two, with the Tigers having lost both games. He is 1-5 with a 5.32 ERA and 1.492 WHIP over the first 14 starts of his young career.

There’s a chance of rain tonight, supposedly starting around 6 p.m. Here's hoping we can avoid a repeat of last Saturday’s suspended game and either finish this one in time or avoid getting wet all together.

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Still full of joy, Sánchez retires after lengthy career and World Series title

Anibal Sanchez NLCS

MIAMI – Aníbal Sánchez’s career was one that was well traveled. Sixteen major league seasons brought him many personal accomplishments, which all led to the ultimate prize in his last true full campaign.

So when the 39-year-old finally made the decision to retire and he sat down to write out his announcement before posting it on his Instagram account, he had a lot to look back on and be proud of.

“I think just yesterday when I post my (announcement) and I noticed everybody that I'm retiring, I saw 17 years pass in two minutes and a half. It was incredible,” Sánchez said Wednesday afternoon in the Nationals dugout at loanDepot Park with media members from both Washington and Miami surrounding him and his family looking on. “Sounds easy, but it's not like that. The most thing that I'm proud of me through my whole career, I past bad moments and I had always the power to come back and keep going in my career.”

Sánchez retired after 16 major league seasons. He spent parts of seven with the Marlins, parts of six with the Tigers, one with the Braves and the last three with the Nationals. He is the owner of a no-hitter, one of the most impressive postseason performances in history and a World Series championship ring.

“I think for me, every single day I come to the field and most of the things that I say to the guys is just working hard,” he said. “It's a sport for everybody else, but it's work and a job for us. So take it serious, work hard and we're going to have time for everything. For having fun, for working out, for preparing our game, for being outside and making it a good show for the fans and also make some wins for the team.”

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Nats swept by Marlins for fourth time in last seven series (updated)

williams gray pitching

MIAMI – The Nationals can’t seem to catch the Marlins for whatever reason. They came into this afternoon needing a victory to avoid a three-game sweep.

Although Trevor Williams pitched a quality start and Jeimer Candelario continued with his hot bat, the Nationals fell again to the Fish by a score of 5-3 in front of an announced crowd of 7,752 at loanDepot Park.

“Tough game," manager Davey Martinez said after the loss. "We tried to make a comeback there, just couldn't finish it. We just didn't hit enough this series. I thought we pitched pretty good. Just the bats got cold on us. So we gotta come back and start swinging the bats, get the ball in the strike zone. We had one ending there where I thought things were gonna snap out of it and then we hit into a double play. So tough series, like you said, and we just gonna come back tomorrow and be ready to play.”

This has become all too familiar for the Nats. They have now lost six of their last seven series against Miami dating back to last year, and have been swept four times.

The Nationals had trouble with Marlins rookie right-hander Eury Pérez, who was making just his second major league start. The 20-year-old is the Marlins’ top-ranked prospect, the No. 7 ranked prospect in all of baseball and the No. 2 ranked right-handed pitching prospect in the sport, per MLB Pipeline. He came in with a fastball that sits at 94-97 mph and peaks at 100, a deceptive upper-80s changeup, an upper-70s curveball and a mid-80s slider.

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Cavalli excited to rejoin Nats for the weekend while progressing in rehab

cavalli blue

MIAMI – Cade Cavalli’s face lit up as he entered the Nationals clubhouse at loanDepot park this morning. It was the first time he was going to be around his teammates since they broke camp in West Palm Beach back in March.

If only for a few days, the young right-hander is leaving the monotony of rehabbing his right elbow at the Nats' spring training facility after Tommy John surgery and join the team for a weekend back in D.C.

Cavalli arrived with a suitcase and equipment bag in tow. He quickly changed out of his street clothes and into his Nationals gear. Though he won’t pitch this year, he was a part of the team again.

“I'm gonna fly with the team tonight to D.C. and spend the weekend there with them,” Cavalli said with the joy clearly across his face. “It'd be great to be able to get back to D.C. and hang around the guys for more than one day. So I'm really excited about it. It's gonna be a great change of scenery for me. And then right back to Florida, and we're getting right back after it.”

It’s only two months into a lengthy rehab process, but Cavalli has made significant strides that have him and the organization optimistic about his recovery and return next year.

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Game 44 lineups: Nats at Marlins

trevor williams gray

MIAMI – After dropping the first two games here against the Marlins, the Nationals need a win this afternoon to avoid a sweep.

That’s a position they are all too familiar with from last year. The Nationals lost five of their six series against the Fish in 2022, putting themselves in position to get swept in all five, and actually losing each game of the series three times.

They’ll rely on former Marlins draft pick Trevor Williams to help get the job done. Williams, who was a second-round pick by the Marlins in 2013, brings a 1-1 record, 4.23 ERA and 1.304 WHIP to his ninth start of the season. Having pitched in the National League his entire career to date, and with the Mets the previous two seasons, he has substantial history against Miami, going 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in nine appearances (four starts).

Eury Pérez gets the call for his second major league start for the home team. He is young, but has a big presence on the mound as the 20-year-old right-hander is listed at 6-foot-8 and 220 pounds. Signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2019, he is the Marlins’ top-ranked prospect, the No. 7 ranked prospect in all of baseball and the No. 2 ranked right-handed pitching prospect in the sport, per MLB Pipeline. He had a 2.32 ERA over six starts with Double-A Pensacola before getting the call to the majors, skipping Triple-A ball.

Pérez gave up two runs on four hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over 4 ⅔ innings in his major league debut Friday against the Reds. He has a fastball that sits at 94-97 mph and peaks at 100, a deceptive upper-80s changeup, an upper-70s curveball and a mid-80s slider.

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Even after homering in return, Dickerson still being patient with his swing


MIAMI – It had been 46 days since Corey Dickerson’s last at-bat in a major league game. He was 0-for-3 with a walk over the Nationals’ first two games of the season before landing on the 10-day injured list with a left calf strain.

So, forgive him for not wasting any time in giving the Nats a big swing when he stepped to the plate for the first time last night, his first game since being activated off the IL on Monday.

Dickerson jumped on the second pitch he saw from Marlins starter Edward Cabrera, a 97 mph sinker right down the middle of the plate and crushed it 432 feet into the right-field upper deck of loanDepot Park. The ball left his bat at 109 mph, the fastest exit velocity by any hitter last night to go along with the furthest distance of any hit ball.

“That was one of those that I finally got my timing the way I wanted working on it down there (on his rehab assignment),” he said after the 4-3 loss. “And yeah, it's one of those you don't forget. But it's also good to have just a hard hit ball just so you can remember. That's good going forward. You can keep that in the back of your mind and know that you did it and you're not having to search for it. You know it's in there. So just get your work in and compete.”

All of his frustrations from the past month and a half let out on his first swing. That poor baseball.

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Nats come up short again in 4-3 loss to Marlins (updated)

garcia catches grey

MIAMI – MacKenzie Gore had to grind through his last start on Friday against the Mets. He needed 96 pitches to get through four scoreless innings.

Manager Davey Martinez said before Gore’s start tonight that the young left-hander needed to pound the strike zone to be more efficient with his pitches.

Gore was able to stay in the zone, but that wasn’t always a good thing. Unfortunately, one of those pitches was left too much in the zone and helped stake the Marlins to a 4-3 win over the Nationals in front of an announced crowd of 8,451 at loanDepot Park.

The southpaw started off strong with a 1-2-3 first inning that included a strikeout on 13 pitches and had a 2-0 lead by the time he took the mound in the second.

But he walked Bryan De La Cruz and gave him second base on a wild pitch. Jean Segura then singled to center to put runners on the corners and set up Yuli Gurriel’s sacrifice fly to left field.

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Meneses placed on paternity list, Alu recalled from Rochester

alu stands cherry

MIAMI – There was a noticeable change in the Nationals clubhouse at loanDepot Park this afternoon. Jake Alu had a locker and Joey Meneses didn’t.

At first, it seemed like a curious development. But it turns out to be a joyous roster move.

The Nationals announced that Meneses has been placed on the paternity list with his fiancé, Mitzy Guzman, giving birth to the couple’s first child, Joseph, today. Alu rejoins the Nats to take his spot on the roster.

“Joey went on their (paternity) list today,” manager Davey Martinez said to begin his pregame media session. “His wife's expecting, so we will find out more here hopefully soon. Jake Alu is on his way. So when we get him here, we'll make that move.”

Meneses is eligible to return to the active roster on Saturday against the Tigers.

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Game 43 lineups: Nats at Marlins

gore pitches grey

MIAMI – The Nationals will try to bounce back after last night’s heartbreaking loss to the Marlins when Hunter Harvey surrendered a two-run walk-off home run to Jorge Soler.

There are still two games left to play in this series and the Nats will have another good chance to get a win tonight with MacKenzie Gore on the mound. The young left-hander is 3-2 with a 3.29 ERA and 1.463 WHIP over his first eight starts, while still sporting an impressive 11.2 strikeout-per-nine-innings rate. Gore gutted through four shutout innings Friday against the Mets, a high pitch count of 96 shortening his outing. He’ll try to keep it down tonight in his first career start against the Marlins.

Edward Cabrera gets the start for the Fish. The 25-year-old right-hander is 2-3 with a 5.35 ERA and 1.670 WHIP over his first eight starts. He has struggled to get deep into games this year, only pitching into the sixth once. Cabrera is 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA and 1.063 WHIP in three career starts against the Nats.

The Nationals are planning to platoon left field with Corey Dickerson getting the starts against right-handers and Stone Garrett starting against lefties. With Cabrera on the mound for Miami, Dickerson returns to the lineup for the first time since being reinstated from the injured list on Monday, but as the designated hitter. He only appeared in the first two games of the season, as a pinch-hitter on Opening Day and as the starting left fielder on April 1 before hurting his calf in the eighth inning.

A roster move is expected to come before the game. Jake Alu has a locker in the Nats clubhouse and Joey Meneses doesn’t. Meneses’ wife is pregnant and due soon, so he should land on the paternity list. Ildemaro Vargas is playing left field while Dickerson is the DH.

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Gray learning to control emotions in high-leverage situations

gray pitches grey

MIAMI – Last night’s outing probably would have gone very differently for Josiah Gray if it had occurred last year. And for the worse.

Then 24, Gray had to learn on the fly during his first full major league campaign while being entrusted to take the ball every fifth day as part of the Nationals rotation. While there were some positives to take away (he stayed healthy throughout the course of the season while pitching a career-high 148 ⅔ innings over 28 starts), there were some learning curves as well (he led the major leagues with 38 homers and led the National League with 66 walks).

But last night’s start, while nothing too exciting to write home about, showed the important improvement Gray has made so far this season.

If it were a start in 2022, it would have likely been an outing that would have gotten away from Gray and fast. Especially against the Marlins, against whom he went 0-3 with a 5.67 ERA and a 1.560 WHIP in six starts last season.

But now in 2023, he was able to take the good and the bad and turn it into his fourth quality start in his last five outings.

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Walk-off homer off Harvey dooms Nats against Marlins (updated)

Dominic Smith gray

MIAMI – The Nationals have found enough offense to play .500 ball since the first week of the season. Without a lack of a true power source, it was a serious question of how they would generate runs this season.

Since that 1-6 start, they have found that their style of baseball is good enough to win games and score runs in a variety of ways, even without a lot of longballs.

That style was on full display tonight in what appeared to be a 4-2 win over the Marlins. But a walk-off two-run home run by Jorge Soler off Hunter Harvey in the ninth turned it into a 5-4 loss in front of an announced crowd of 8,811 at loanDepot Park.

Pitching against a team for whom his father recorded 51 saves, Harvey entered the ninth trying to protect the Nats' two-run lead that they had built in the previous inning. He recorded a flyout and a strikeout on 10 pitches, needing just one more out for his second career save.

But a double by Garrett Cooper and an RBI single by Luis Arraez made it a one-run game, too close for comfort. Pinch-runner Jon Berti stole second base to put the tying run in scoring position, which was ultimately unnecessary thanks to Soler's 10th homer of the season.

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Nats to consider six-man rotation with Kuhl's impending return

kuhl pitches grey

MIAMI – The Nationals are getting closer to activating Chad Kuhl off the 15–day injured list while he continues his recovery from right foot metatarsalgia. Though they still have time to decide, the question is now becoming: How will they adjust the pitching staff when he’s finally ready to return?

Kuhl is eligible to come off the IL now, having been placed back on May 1 but retroactive to April 30. His biggest step in his rehab was throwing 65 pitches over four innings in a simulated game yesterday afternoon and reporting that he felt great today.

“Chad came out of his simulated game feeling good,” manager Davey Martinez said during his pregame session with the media ahead of tonight’s opener against the Marlins. “So we're gonna reevaluate and see what the next step would be for him.”

The right-hander, who was only in the Nats rotation because of Cade Cavalli’s Tommy John surgery coming out of spring training, is 0-2 with a 9.41 ERA and 1.955 WHIP over five starts this season. The Nationals have only won one of the games started by him, and that was largely thanks to the 10 runs they scored while he pitched just 3 ⅔ innings on April 22 in Minnesota.

The Nationals are still evaluating the situation and how they’ll move forward with him and the rotation.

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Game 42 lineups: Nats at Marlins

gray pitches grey

MIAMI – Hello from loanDepot Park, where they make sure to stylize that with a lowercase L. I don’t understand why because even now in its third season since the name change from Marlins Park, I still read it as if it’s a capital I. But I digress …

Josiah Gray will get the ball to start this quick three-game road trip in South Beach. He’s been fantastic through his first eight starts of the season, sporting an improved 3-5 record, 2.96 ERA and 1.336 WHIP. The right-hander will look to continue that trend tonight as he hopes to fare much better against the Fish than he did last year: In six starts against Miami, Gray went 0-3 with a 5.67 ERA and a 1.560 WHIP.

To be fair, the Nationals as a team did not do well against the Marlins last year (or anyone in the National League East for that matter). They finished 4-15 against the Marlins in 2022 and started off by losing 12 of the first 13 matchups.

Former Nationals third-round pick Jesús Luzardo makes his ninth start of the season for the home team. You’ll remember him being included in the 2017 trade to the Athletics for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. He was then traded to Miami for Starling Marte in 2021. The left-hander is 3-2 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.412 WHIP on the season, but 0-2 with a 7.58 ERA and 1.895 WHIP in four career starts against the Nats.

Where: loanDepot Park
Gametime: 6:40 p.m. EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, MLB.com
Weather: Indoors

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After battling "longshot" odds, Alu making most of time in majors

Jake Alu cherry

Jake Alu has waited for this moment his whole life, just like any ballplayer. After four seasons of college ball and the last four seasons of professional ball in the minor leagues, he has finally made the major leagues.

The moment came on Sunday, when the Nationals learned Victor Robles needed to go on the 10-day injured list with back spasms and they needed to call up someone from Triple-A Rochester.

Alu was first in line, hopping on an early cross-country flight Monday morning and meeting the team in San Francisco ahead of their three-game series against the Giants. His lifelong dream finally came true when he entered the visitors clubhouse and stepped on the field at Oracle Park.

“It's been an incredible time. It's been a whirlwind these last three days,” Alu said Friday after the Nationals returned home to start a series against the Mets. “Getting the call and getting called into (Rochester manager Matt LeCroy’s) office and getting told you're going to the big leagues, it's a lifelong goal. It's a dream. Glad that it happened.”

He got to soak in the moment on Monday, watching the Nationals’ victory from the dugout. But he got his first official taste of the big leagues on Tuesday, when he was in the starting lineup as the left fielder batting ninth.

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Gore gutsy, but bullpen faulty as Nats lose to Mets (updated)


It was unrealistic to expect MacKenzie Gore to repeat a career-best outing this time against the Mets. That’s a difficult feat to accomplish on any given night, much  less twice against the same team in about a two-week time frame.

And sure enough, tonight’s outing was unlike when the young left-hander took the mound at Citi Field on April 26 and shoved for six innings of one-run ball with four hits and two walks while matching a career high with 10 strikeouts.

Though not as impressive tonight, Gore still gutted through four scoreless innings. Unfortunately, it was all for naught as the Nationals bullpen broke down, leading to a 3-2 loss to the Mets in front of an announced crowd of 31,904 at Nats Park.

Gore’s high pitch count did him in early. He needed 37 pitches to get through the first inning, in which he faced six batters while giving up a single and two walks with two outs. He needed 22 pitches to complete the second while giving up two hits. Then he needed 25 pitches to get out of the third after another couple of singles.

The Mets did what they could not do while striking out 10 times two weeks ago: wore Gore down with long at-bats. They took balls out of the strike zone and fouled off tough pitches to extend their time at the plate.

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Candelario returns to lineup, Dickerson on rehab assignment

candelario slides

The Nationals have returned home from a six-game West Coast road trip and received good news on the injury front after yesterday’s off-day.

Jeimer Candelario, dealing with a right ankle issue, is back in the starting lineup for tonight’s series opener against the Mets, batting sixth and playing third base. He had left Wednesday’s win against the Giants after sliding awkwardly into second base and having his right foot get caught in the dirt, twisting his ankle. After the game, he was seen with the ankle wrapped up, and manager Davey Martinez said the Nats would have to wait until today to see how he felt.

Today’s report, obviously, came back positive.

“He just slid and fell funny on it,” Martinez said during his pregame media session at Nationals Park. “It was kind of sore, but he said he feels good today. ... Everything's good.”

The Nats do have plenty of backup options just in case Candelario needed an extra day of rest. Ildemaro Vargas, Michael Chavis and Jake Alu all have experience playing third base.

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Game 38 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

Luis Garcia Blue Jersey

The Nationals are back home after a 3-3 road trip and Thursday’s off-day. It’s an odd setup for this four-game series before the Nats head back on the road to Miami: They’ll play these four games against the Mets on Friday-Monday this Mother’s Day weekend.

MacKenzie Gore returns to the mound to start this series for the home team. The young left-hander is 3-2 with a 3.65 ERA and 1.432 WHIP over his first seven starts. His 11.68 strikeout-per-nine-innings rate is fifth in the major leagues, thanks to two recent outings. He struck out nine over six innings on Saturday against the Diamondbacks, and he tied his career high with 10 strikeouts over six frames against these Mets two weeks ago in New York.

Tylor Megill will make his eighth start for the Mets, going 3-2 with a 4.33 ERA and 1.500 WHIP to start the season. Since starting the year 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA, the right-hander is 0-2 with a 6.05 ERA over his last four starts, with the Mets losing three of those games.

Since starting the season 1-6, the Nationals have played .500 ball with a plus run differential over their last 30 games. Meanwhile, the Mets have been reeling. Starting with that series at Citi Field in which the Nats won two of three, the Mets are 4-11 with a -34 run differential. Entering this weekend, the Nats are only 1 ½ games behind the Mets in the National League East.

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, MLB.com
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 83 degrees, wind 8 mph out to right-center field

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Selective Abrams quietly Nats' leading slugger

cj abrams celebrate grey

Just over 30 games into the season, who would you guess would be the Nationals’ RBI and slugging percentage leader?

Probably one of their power hitters like Joey Meneses or Dominic Smith. Or maybe even one of their better contact hitters like Jeimer Candelario or Keibert Ruiz.

Any one of them would be a good guess, especially considering how high up the batting order they primarily hit.

But they would be wrong, as the correct answer is CJ Abrams, who is slugging .386 with 15 RBIs over his first 30 games.

“I did know that,” Abrams said with a grin when asked if he knew he was the team’s leader in runs batted in.

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Call follows Corbin's strong start with walk-off homer to beat Cubs (updated)

Alex Call whites celebration

The Nationals are enjoying the last three games at home after entering this homestand with a sub-.500 record on South Capitol Street and having dropped two of three to the Pirates over the weekend and the series opener to the Cubs on Monday.

But it all came together these last three days in the forms of a 4-1 win Tuesday, a 2-1 win yesterday and a 4-3 win this afternoon, this one delivered by Alex Call’s walk-off home run down the left-field line to send the announced crowd of 18,577 home happy.

The win was the Nationals’ third in a row and sealed their third series win in their last four matchups. It was also completed in 1 hour and 55 minutes, the third-fastest game in the majors this season.

Coming up for his fourth at-bat, Call had already had an eventful day. Starting in center field for Victor Robles, he made a spectacular diving catch to rob Dansby Swanson of a hit in the seventh and preserve a strong outing by Patrick Corbin. But at the plate, he was less fortunate with an 0-for-3 start and two hard lineouts to third baseman Patrick Wisdom.

That’s why you always look to the next one.

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