First September call-ups coming; Scherzer to start Saturday

MILWAUKEE - Major league clubs typically use their allotment of September call-ups to get a first look at prospects who may figure into the long-term plan, ensure depth at positions where it’s needed and reward a few guys for great minor league seasons.

The Nationals find themselves in a different situation as the calendar flips from August to September. They’ll be expanding their roster not so much to get a look at young guys but to restock their roster with players who have been hurt and to bring back those who admirably filled in for the injured over the summer.

“A lot of the guys that would’ve been September call-ups have already been here, in July and August and now September,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We’ve got a few guys slated to come back. I think almost all the guys that are slated to come back have been here.”

The first two players who will be added Friday, Baker said, are a pair of relievers: Enny Romero and Austin Adams.

Romero-Throws-Gray-Sidebar.jpgRomero will return after spending the last four weeks on the disabled list with a forearm strain. The left-hander has been pitching on a rehab assignment for Triple-A Syracuse for the last two weeks, making seven appearances totaling 6 1/3 innings. He’ll now have a month to try to recapture the form he displayed earlier this season in posting a 3.99 ERA with 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings in 45 games for the Nationals and earn a spot in the postseason bullpen.

The Nats caught a bit of a break with Romero, who has been out of options all season and couldn’t be sent to the minors without passing through waivers, unless he was on a rehab assignment. Thus, he was able to spend the last two weeks working on things in a low-pressure situation.

“He’s been pitching,” Baker said. “Hopefully he can come back and learn something where he was and come back sharp.”

Adams returns to the Nationals after a brief appearance in July that included a nightmare major league debut in which he didn’t retire any of the five batters he faced and wound up with an official career ERA of infinity. The right-hander has excelled at Syracuse, though, with a 2.14 ERA in 44 games.

Other likely September call-ups include catcher Pedro Severino, infielder Adrián Sanchez, outfielders Andrew Stevenson and Rafael Bautista and right-hander Erick Fedde and A.J. Cole. Those players’ promotions will be staggered, with some having only recently been sent down from the majors and needing to wait 10 days before they can be recalled.

Fedde is eligible to come back as soon as Friday even though he was just sent down this week, because he was the designated 26th man for Sunday’s doubleheader. The pitching prospect won’t start Saturday’s game, though, as was originally considered.

After initially listing Saturday’s starter as “TBA” while pushing Max Scherzer to Sunday to give him an extra day of rest, the Nationals decided to scrap that plan and now will start Scherzer on Saturday and Edwin Jackson on Sunday on normal rest.

Baker said the club may still decide to give the entire rotation an extra day of rest at some point, but not yet. The fact Fedde’s velocity was down several notches during Sunday’s start against the Mets may have contributed to the decision not to put him back on the big league mound right now.

Others who could be close to returning from injury include outfielder Brian Goodwin (who participated in pregame drills with his teammates today) and reliever Ryan Madson (who is scheduled to join the club here this weekend to have his sprained finger re-evaluated).

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