Nationals recall right-hander Lucas Giolito

The Washington Nationals recalled right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito on Sunday and optioned infielder Wilmer Difo to Double-A Harrisburg. Giolito will start Sunday’s game against the Colorado Rockies. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.

Giolito, 22, returns to the Nationals to start the fourth Major League game of his career. Making his Major League debut on June 28 against the New York Mets, Giolito has worked to a 4.91 ERA in his three previous big league outings. He has no record as of yet.

Currently ranked as the No. 4 overall prospect in Major League Baseball by, Giolito entered the season as the No. 5 prospect in MLB per Baseball America. A hard-throwing right-hander who possesses an advanced fastball/curveball/changeup repertoire, Giolito has faced the New York Mets (twice) and the San Diego Padres in his previous Major League exposure.

Giolito is 6-5 with a 3.19 ERA in 21 Minor League starts this season, spread across three levels of the Nationals’ system. With Triple-A, specifically, he is 1-2 with a 2.76 ERA in six starts. He has allowed one earned run or fewer in each of his last three MiLB outings and struck out 17 batters in that span. Over the course of his Minor League career, Giolito has struck out 9.8 batters per nine innings and significantly limited the longball, allowing just 0.4 HR/9.0 innings (18 home runs total over parts of five seasons).

Difo, 24, hit .257 (9-for-35) with two doubles, five RBI, one stolen base, two walks and six runs scored in 18 games at the Major League level this season. In 96 games with Double-A Harrisburg before being recalled, Difo hit .255 with 14 doubles, two triples, five home runs, 33 RBI, 33 walks, and 26 stolen bases.