ATLANTA - Thirty-four Nationals have pitched at least one inning this season, a remarkably high total that includes five rookies and three position players.
The 35th could be the most intriguing to date.
MacKenzie Gore, the former top-100 prospect acquired from the Padres in the Juan Soto/Josh Bell trade, will make another rehab start for Triple-A Rochester tonight as he pushes to make his Nats debut before season’s end.
Manager Davey Martinez expects Gore to throw about 60-65 pitches, hoping to see more consistency from the 23-year-old.
“This is like spring training all over for him,” said Martinez. “We’ll try to give him four ups and see where he’s at.”
Gore hasn’t pitched a big league game since July 25 with the Padres. He was placed on the 15-day injured list shortly after with elbow inflammation.
In two rehab starts with the Red Wings, Gore has allowed six hits but no runs over 4 ⅓ innings, striking out two and walking two.
Cade Cavalli’s big league debut on Aug. 26 was more hyped, but the excitement was short-lived, as shoulder inflammation shut down the talented righty after just one start.
Gore presents an important test for the Nats staff, who will need to develop a 23-year-old whose history of mechanical issues has been well-chronicled. The lefty was once the top pitching prospect in baseball, but had struggles with his delivery in 2020 that carried over into the following season.
After sorting things out, Gore debut with the Padres in April and posted a 4.50 ERA in 16 appearances, including 13 starts. His command left something to be desired, as he walked 4.8 batters per nine innings.
Patrick Corbin’s back spasms could open a spot in the rotation for Gore, giving him as many as two starts before season’s end.