Rosenthal retired the side on 18 pitches, throwing 10 strikes, in a scoreless inning Saturday night for Double-A Harrisburg. It was his sixth outing while rehabbing, officially from a viral infection but practically from his inability to throw strikes while pitching for the Nationals throughout April.
Rosenthal’s command woes have popped up more than once while pitching in the minors. In six total appearances, he has put nine batters on base in only 5 1/3 innings: three hits, five walks and one hit batter.
Manager Davey Martinez said the plan now is for Rosenthal to return to Harrisburg to pitch again Monday, hoping to duplicate his success from Saturday’s outing. At some point, they also want him to pitch on back-to-back days.
Eventually, the Nationals have to make a decision on Rosenthal, who got $7 million guaranteed over the winter to serve as the club’s setup man and backup closer. But they still have some time to let this play out. Pitchers are allowed to be on a rehab assignment for up to 30 days, and Rosenthal has only been on his for 15 days.
Update: The Nationals have gotten effective work out of Erick Fedde today, and another big inning from their lineup. Fedde has posted four straight zeroes to begin his afternoon, though his pitch count of 64 is a bit high. The right-hander cruised through an eight-pitch top of the first but needed 48 to get through the second and third despite not surrendering a run. His teammates, meanwhile, have staked him to a lead. Howie Kendrick got things started with a solo homer in the bottom of the second. Kendrick then drove in two more with a two-out single in the bottom of the third. Brian Dozier’s subsequent two-run double off the wall in right-center completed the four-run rally and gives the Nationals a 5-0 lead after four.
Update II: It got crazy here for a few minutes. Not because of what happened on the field but what happened in the sky. It began pouring in the middle of the sixth, and there even was some hail thrown into the mix. That sent everyone scurrying and forced a 24-minute rain delay. Then the skies turned blue again, the game resumed and the Nats kept pounding a bad Marlins team. They got an RBI double from Michael A. Taylor, a two-run triple from Anthony Rendon and a sac fly from Juan Soto. After all that, it’s a 9-0 game after six innings.