The Washington Nationals recalled right-handed pitcher James Bourque from Double-A Harrisburg and optioned right-handed pitcher Joe Ross to Triple-A Fresno on Saturday. Additionally, the Nationals recalled from rehab assignment and optioned outfielder Andrew Stevenson to Triple-A Fresno. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcements.
Bourque, 25, went 3-0 with six saves and a 1.33 ERA (3 ER/20.1 IP) in 14 appearances out of Harrisburg’s bullpen in 2019. He struck out 33 batters while issuing just six walks. He tossed scoreless relief in 11 of his 14 outings, and pitched more than one inning in seven of the 14. Bourque’s 14.61 strikeouts per 9.0 innings leads Eastern League pitchers (min 20.0 IP).
Across his last nine outings prior to his promotion, Bourque struck out 22 batters against just two walks. He last pitched on May 22 at Akron, tossing a scoreless seventh inning, recording two hits and three strikeouts.
A 14th-round pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Michigan, Bourque transitioned to full-time reliever in 2018. He went 4-2 with six saves and a 1.70 ERA (10 ER/53.0 IP) in 41 games between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg in 2018. He led all Nationals Minor Leaguers (min. 50.0 IP) in strikeouts per 9.0 innings (12.91) and hits allowed per 9.0 innings (5.09) while ranking third in the system in ERA (1.70).
Ross, 26, appeared in 16 games out of Washington’s bullpen, posting a 9.22 ERA (14 ER/13.2 IP).