Nats place Corbin on bereavement list, recall Ferrer (plus injury updates)

PHILADELPHIA – The Nationals have gone most of this season without a left-handed reliever in their bullpen.

Now they have two.

The Nationals recalled left-hander Jose A. Ferrer from Triple-A Rochester and placed Patrick Corbin on the bereavement list before tonight’s series opener against the Phillies.

“Patrick Corbin is on the bereavement list right now,” manager Davey Martinez said during his pregame meeting with the media. “So we thought we'd bring in Ferrer, one of our young left-handed relievers. Give him an opportunity, hopefully in the next couple of days. With all the lefties they got, get him in the game. So yeah, he'll be here and we'll see how it goes for him.”

Ferrer joins the Nats after his first taste of Triple-A ball, where he was 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA, 1.550 WHIP and 33 strikeouts in 40 innings over 34 appearances. The 23-year-old did not allow a run in his final five outings since June 17 while holding opponents to a .158 average (3-for-19) and striking out nine in six innings over that span.

“Very excited, very excited,” said Ferrer, via interpreter Octavio Martinez, about joining the major leagues for the first time. “This is a dream come true. Something you dream of since being a little boy.”

Coincidentally enough, Rochester was playing the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate in Lehigh Valley when he got the news he was getting the call to The Show on Wednesday.

“It was the day before yesterday, at night,” Ferrer said. “We played, actually, their affiliate. And as soon as the game was over, they gave me a call and brought me in the office. And (assistant general manager of player personnel) Mark Scialabba was there when they gave me the news.”

A native of the Dominican Republic, Ferrer signed with the Nationals as a non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2017, and he has seen a rapid rise through the system over the last year.

Ferrer enjoyed a breakout season in 2022, which was highlighted by his selection to the All-Star Futures Game at Dodger Stadium (he recorded one out, a strikeout). He went 3-2 with 11 saves, a 2.48 ERA and 0.995 WHIP in 48 relief appearances between Single-A Fredericksburg, High-A Wilmington and Double-A Harrisburg last year. Ferrer had 78 strikeouts and just 11 walks in 65 ⅓ innings between the three stops.

But walks have been an issue for him this year at Triple-A. After posting a 1.5 walks-per-nine-innings rate and 7.09 strikeout-per-walk rate in 2022, he has already walked 20 batters with Rochester for a 4.5 BB/9 and 1.65 K/BB.

“We'll have to control his heartbeat,” Davey Martinez said. “His walks were up there. But like I said, the last couple of outings, he's thrown the ball a lot better. Finding the strike zone a little bit more. He tweaked his mechanics a little bit. So we'll see. I'm glad he's here because we'll get eyes on him.”

Ferrer now joins Joe La Sorsa to give the Nationals two left-handers in their bullpen, much to Davey Martinez’s delight.

The two southpaws bring different approaches from the left side of the mound. La Sorsa has more of a wide, almost submarine-like, release, while Ferrer attacks hitters more aggressively.

“It's two different looks for left-handed hitters, so that's kind of nice,” Davey Martinez said. “One guy has a little funk. The other guy is going to come at you. So I kind of like that. The last couple of outings Ferrer has thrown the ball really, really good. So he's gonna get an opportunity here in the next couple of days, get him in there and see what he does.”

And an editorial note: The young lefty likes his name presented Jose A. Ferrer with his middle initial, a tribute to his late uncle.

“​​My middle initial is Alexander,” Ferrer said. “And that was my uncle's name, who unfortunately passed away right before I was born. So that's the significance of that.”

* Sean Doolittle has been shut down for seven to 10 days with a right knee patellar tendon strain, per Davey Martinez. Doolittle is meeting team doctors in D.C. to determine next steps, and then may go down to Florida to rehab.

It’s another tough break for the 36-year-old, who was placed on Rochester’s injured list Wednesday and dealt with an injury to that same knee in 2020.

Other injury updates include no changes for Victor Robles, who is still just strengthening his back and not doing any baseball activities, and Carl Edwards Jr. starting to throw and feeling a lot better.

Edwards is just playing catch, however, not yet throwing off a mound.

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