Needing a fresh arm, Nats promote Adon, demote Herz

Desperate for a fresh bullpen arm, especially one who could pitch multiple innings if needed, the Nationals recalled right-hander Joan Adon from Triple-A Rochester before today’s game, a move that also resulted in the demotion of left-hander DJ Herz.

Playing their 11th game in a stretch of 17 consecutive scheduled game days, the Nats knew their pitching staff was running on fumes. The last week saw the team play three extra-inning games, then the last three days saw their starters combine for only 12 2/3 innings.

So they made the call to bring up Adon, a starter throughout his career in the majors and minors but recently converted to a reliever in Rochester. The 25-year-old will be available for long relief, a role he could hold for the long term given the club’s lack of anyone else who fits that description so far this season.

“The bullpen’s been worked a lot, as we know,” manager Davey Martinez said. “It just gives us one more arm in the bullpen for the next five days, until we figure out what we’re going to do next. Hopefully, he can help us out there.”

Adon has started 26 games for the Nationals since 2021, with few positive results. In those games, he’s 3-16 with a 6.56 ERA and 1.732 WHIP. His numbers, though, were much better early in those starts than later. Opponents batted just .231 against him on his first through 50th pitches, then hit .307 against him after that.

The Nats hope the transition to a long-relief role, one he made two weeks ago in Rochester, can turn him into an effective part of a big league bullpen in the long term.

“I feel like I try to stay ready for whenever the team needs me, and whatever I need to do to help the team,” Adon said, via interpreter Octavio Martinez. “I think I feel like I’m able to help them right now.”

If they wanted to swap Adon out for another reliever, the Nationals would have needed either to option Robert Garcia (their only left-hander) or designate Jordan Weems or Tanner Rainey for assignment. So they decided instead to swap him out for a starter and optioned Herz to Triple-A.

Herz had been part of the big league rotation for the last month, making seven starts. Two of those were dynamite, with double-digit strikeouts and zero walks over more than five innings in each. The other five starts, though, saw him fail to complete five innings each time and never record more than five strikeouts.

After a 4 1/3-inning performance Sunday left him 1-3 with a 5.17 ERA and 1.404 WHIP for the season, the Nationals demoted the 23-year-old, though there are reasons beyond performance for the move.

Herz has barely topped the 100-inning mark in his professional career, and even in a best-case scenario the club would limit his workload this season. In sending him down to Triple-A, the team essentially is giving him a chance to rest and save up his innings for later this year. There’s a good chance he rejoins the major league rotation sometime after the All-Star break.

“I only threw 112 innings last year, so I need a little rest,” he said. “That’s kind of what they told me. Just take some time to get some rest, and then hopefully we’ll be back up here.”

The Nationals will need someone else to start Friday night in Milwaukee, whether that ends up being Adon or someone else called up from the minors. They could then bring Herz back up for the first time they play five days in a row after the All-Star break, which doesn’t happen until July 27 in St. Louis.

“Here’s another young pitcher that we’re really trying to take care of and keep him healthy,” skipper Martinez said. “We’ll give him a few days off here, but he’s got to be ready to pitch again. We’re going to look at the schedule, we’re going to get him going and hopefully the second half – when that turn comes around again – he could be ready to go.”

Nats close out long, hot homestand with shutout lo...
Game 91 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to