Guerra could join bullpen Tuesday (Nats trail 4-2)

NEW YORK - Javy Guerra won’t join the Nationals bullpen until Tuesday at the earliest. But once he does, the club hopes the versatile veteran will help stabilize the majors’ worst relief corps.

Guerra, claimed off outright waivers from the Blue Jays earlier today, wasn’t able to make it to New York in time for the Nationals’ series opener against the Mets. Manager Davey Martinez, who spoke to the right-hander over the phone, hopes to have him available for Tuesday’s game.

“If he gets here tomorrow, great,” Martinez said. “If not, as soon as he gets here. I talked to him on the phone. He’s excited. He’s looking forward to it. I told him: ‘As soon as you get here, be ready to pitch.’”

Guerra-Blue-Jays-White-Sidebar.jpgGuerra, 33, had a 3.84 ERA and 1.214 WHIP in 11 appearances for the Blue Jays, but five of the six runs he allowed came in back-to-back games in mid-April. He tossed three scoreless innings in his final outing Friday, one day before Toronto designated him for assignment as part of a bullpen roster shuffle.

Owner of a 3.44 ERA and 32 saves (21 of those as a rookie for the Dodgers in 2011) over a nine-year career, Guerra isn’t going to suddenly take over a key setup role for the Nationals. But his experience and ability to pitch multiple innings could prove valuable to a team desperate for quality relief.

“I think he’s a guy that gives us a little bit more length, as well,” Martinez said.

The Nationals cleared a spot for Guerra on their 40-man roster today when they designated struggling left-hander Dan Jennings for assignment, but they also activated lefty Tony Sipp off the injured list. So they’ll need to remove another player from the 25-man roster before Guerra officially joins the team. Among current members of the bullpen, right-handers Kyle McGowin, Tanner Rainey, Kyle Barraclough and Joe Ross have options.

Update: This one hasn’t exactrly gotten off to a great start for the Nationals. They got a leadoff double from Trea Turner to open the game, but then couldn’t score him. Patrick Corbin, meanwhile, served up two solo homers in the bottom of the first, one to Amed Rosario, one to Pete Alonso. The Rosario home run came on an 0-2 fastball, the latest such indignity for the Nats pitching staff. They’ve now surrendered 21 home runs on 0-2 pitches in the last two seasons, which is seven more than any other club in the majors. Not good. Mets lead 2-0 after two.

Update II: It’s getting worse. Corbin hasn’t been close to sharp tonight. Through three innings, he has allowed four runs on six hits and three walks (one intentional). Carlos G√≥mez (remember him?) ripped an RBI double off the wall during a long bottom of the third in which two runs crossed the plate. Corbin has needed 71 pitches to get through three innings. The Nationals really expected length out of their starter tonight. It doesn’t look like they’re going to get it. The good news: Anthony Rendon is red-hot at the plate. He just led off the fourth with his ninth homer of the season, his third in the last four games. And Yan Gomes, who desperately needed a big hit, delivered a big hit. His two-out RBI single cut the Nats’ deficit to 4-2 in the fourth.

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