PHILADELPHIA – Needing bullpen help after Patrick Corbin only recorded two outs in last night’s loss to the Phillies, the Nationals recalled right-hander Mason Thompson from Triple-A Rochester and optioned right-hander Jordan Weems to Rochester before today’s finale at Citizens Bank Park.
“We made a move today. We sent Jordan down, brought up Mason Thompson,” manager Davey Martinez announced during his pregame press conference. “Just to add another fresh arm in our bullpen after yesterday's game.”
Weems threw a season-high 57 pitches over 2 ⅓ innings in relief of Corbin yesterday, making him the odd man out today. He has a 6.57 ERA with 24 strikeouts and 10 walks in 24 ⅔ innings over 21 appearances with the Nationals this season.
“The thing about it is, players know. And they know when you have options, it's part of it,” Martinez said of his conversation with Weems. “It's the unfortunate part of it. And I told him yesterday, even though he threw a lot of pitches that second inning, he goes back out. And that was huge for us that he could go back out there and finish. And it really helped our bullpen out a lot. So we'll be in good shape today with our bullpen. Like I said, with Mason here now, that helps out a lot.”
Thompson has been effective in his time with the Nationals this season. But he didn’t pitch in high-leverage situations, with all of his seven appearances coming when the Nats were trailing. He only gave up one hit and two walks while striking out four over six innings.
He has a 1.59 ERA and 0.971 WHIP in eight appearances with Rochester.
“Mason, he's been pitching down there,” Martinez said. “He's done multiple innings. He's been throwing the ball well. He's been here, so we felt like he'd be the guy that could help us out. Especially if things go awry today, he could give us, you know, one-plus innings.”
With the uncertainty of how deep the starters can get into games, the Nats are hoping Thompson is built up enough to be able to provide a little bit of length if needed.
“He's been pitching, and pitching well.” Martinez said. “Like I said, he's been back-to-back days, multiple innings. So I feel comfortable getting him out there and using him the way we feel fit.”
There was a discussion about possibly bringing up two bullpen arms after the Nats needed to use eight different relievers over the past two games. But for now, they’ll count on who they already have here.
“We thought about it,” Martinez said. “If we had to use another guy, Erasmo, we tried to stay away from yesterday, so he can give us multiple innings if need be today. And those other guys, CJ (Carl Edwards Jr.) and (Kyle) Finnegan, they haven't pitched much in the last few days. So they're pretty good to go.”
The Nationals also considered bringing Weems with them to Chicago for the upcoming three-game set against the Cubs. But they don’t want him possibly sitting around for a couple of days and would rather try to get him some innings at Rochester.
“We thought about it,” Martinez said. “But for me, I don't want them sitting around. I want him, he'll have the day today, but he'll get back out there maybe tomorrow or the next day, and keep him going in case something does happen. But I don't want him just sitting around for three, four or five days.”
* Erick Fedde threw his second bullpen while recovering from right shoulder inflammation yesterday. He threw 30-31 pitches in his first session on Thursday and got up to 40 pitches yesterday.
He’s set to throw another one this week in Chicago, and the Nats hope he can throw a simulated game when they return to Washington next weekend.
“He's gonna throw another bullpen in Chicago,” Martinez said. “And then if that goes well, we'll have him throw a 50-55-pitch sim game back when we get home. So it went fine yesterday. So he's scheduled, I think, to throw Tuesday another bullpen.”
Fedde has been on the 15-day injured list since July 30, retroactive to July 27.