Prior the opening game of their series with the Padres, the Nationals placed right-hander Trevor Rosenthal on the 10-day injured list with a viral infection and reinstated right-hander Justin Miller from the IL.
Rosenthal has had an extremely poor start to the season, throwing with good velocity but almost completely unable to find the strike zone on a consistent basis. He has allowed five runs in his last three innings over three appearances with five walks and two hit batters. His season ERA is 36.00.
General manager Mike Rizzo said Rosenthal has been dealing with a stomach issue since the beginning of last week’s road trip to Miami. Rizzo said the infection presented itself in part as muscle fatigue and body aches.
“We went to Miami and Trevor had a stomach virus that continued through Colorado,” said Rizzo. “He was unavailable for those four to five days that we were in Miami and Colorado. He finally felt a little bit better. He lost 10 lbs. during the five days. And when he felt a little better in Colorado, (he) pitched there.”
Nationals manager Davey Martinez said the Nationals knew Rosenthal was not feeling well after the final game of the series against the Rockies.
“You remember me talking a little bit after the game that, for me, he didn’t look all that right,” Martinez said. “And he said he felt fatigued. He being sick in Miami and going to Colorado, he said he felt good and then after he just said he felt not himself, so he went to the doctor and the doctor says he definitely has some viral infection that caused him to lose, he lost 12 lbs. and he was sick. (Rosenthal) saw (the) doctor today, going to talk to him after session to see what plan is.”
“He experienced some muscle fatigue,” Rizzo said of Rosenthal. “He’s supposed to see the doctor today, to see what answers the doctors have, if any, and then we’ll take it from there. But he’s a big part of this team. We need to get him fixed. And we need to make sure he’s healthy, fixed and getting his work in, whether it be here or the minor leagues.”
And that is a big “if” as to whether or not Rosenthal would accept a demotion to the minor leagues. But a rehab assignment, extended toward a 30-day cap would be more likely.
“There’s contractual rules that preclude you from just sending him to the minor leagues; he has to consent for it,” Rizzo said. “We’ve had discussions on different ways of handling his situation, he’s been totally cooperative. There’s nobody that feels worse about how he is performing than Trevor Rosenthal. He’s a great teammate, the makeup is terrific, he wants to help his team, and he is going to do what he has to do to get better and to help the club.”
Rizzo did not say the muscle fatigue was in Rosenthal’s arm, but something that is affecting his entire body because of the sickness. He also pointed to the conditions in Denver not helping Rosenthal’s plight.
“It’s related to the muscles in his entire body from ... not only from losing the 10 lbs. in five days, but also the altitude and dehydration and that type of thing,” Rizzo said. “We’re going to see how he feels today. He’s going to be seen by the doctor, and we’ll have more from you when we talk to the doctor after that.”
Martinez said Rosenthal will begin rehab here in D.C. with the goal of first getting back to complete health from the viral infection, then the Nationals will focus on his pitching. And it sounds like Martinez means both the mechanical and the mental side of Rosenthal’s pitching.
“For right now, the main thing is (to) get him healthy,” Martinez said. “Get his weight back, get him strong again, and then after that, it’s just kind of hone in on his mechanics. Really hone in on his mechanics. Like I said, he’s a big part of us and we want him back. He’s going to be back, but we want him to be able to go out there and not worry about struggling, just worry about throwing strikes and helping us win.”
Martinez said Miller, who was out with a lower back strain, had two pitching sessions in Florida and one with Single-A Potomac. He is ready to go and could pitch tonight.