The Nationals, recognizing they couldn’t afford to keep Kyle Barraclough on their active roster much longer, decided to place the struggling reliever on the injured list today with what the team is calling radial nerve irritation.
Barraclough had not previously reported any issues with his arm, according to manager Davey Martinez, and he offered up no injury-related explanation for his performance Saturday when he gave up three runs and retired only one of the five batters he faced.
But Martinez said today he was told Barraclough reported “some tingling in his forearm” to the training staff after Saturday’s game. He was subsequently diagnosed with irritation in the nerve that runs down his right arm and will be looked at further today.
“He’s going to get evaluated by the doctor today, and we’ll know more about what’s going on,” Martinez said. “But he said he felt it after the game, so he kind of got nervous.”
No matter the reason for his struggles, Barraclough was in a tenuous position. His ERA ballooned to 6.39, his WHIP to 1.737. Over his last 13 appearances, he has allowed 16 earned runs on 18 hits, five walks and two hit batters, serving up six home runs in the process.
“We’ve just got to get Barraclough fixed, per se, and ready to go,” Martinez said. “We’ve still got a lot of games left. Hopefully this is not a long-term thing and he can come back and help us win games.”
The Nationals elected to replace Barraclough on the roster with infielder Adrián Sanchez, who was recalled from Double-A Harrisburg. That gives the club a five-man bench and seven-man bullpen for the first time in weeks, an arrangement Martinez had hoped to achieve for a while but only now was comfortable using because of the recent uptick in performance from the rest of his relief corps.
“I feel like Rosenthal has pitched better,” Martinez said. “We have the lefties. With Javy (Guerra), Rainey, (Wander) Suero, all those guys, it allows us to do that. It allows us to get another guy on the bench, which is nice. We kind of need a backup infielder, a guy that can play shortstop, so Sanchez is back.”a
Update: Just as they did Saturday, the Nationals gave up a first-inning homer to Ketel Marte. The suddenly dominant Diamondbacks center fielder took Aníbal Sanchez deep today after taking Stephen Strasburg deep twice yesterday, and he now has 20 homers on the season. But just as they did Saturday, the Nats scored three runs in the bottom of the first, this time getting RBI hits from Howie Kendrick and Kurt Suzuki. And unlike Saturday, the Nationals kept the D-backs off the board in the top of the second, then added on in the bottom of the inning, with Adam Eaton driving home Trea Turner to give the home team a 4-1 lead.
Update II: The Nationals aren’t done tacking on. Matt Adams, moments after breaking his bat on a foul ball ripped down the right field line, ripped a three-run homer into the bleachers. That’s his second homer in as many days, and it extended the Nats’ lead to 7-1 after three innings. The Diamondbacks did get one back in the top of the fourth, but Sánchez has held them in check overall and has done it on 64 pitches.
Update III: The Nats haven’t let up at all today. They’ve scored in five of the first six innings, and they’re getting long balls now to extend their lead. Suzuki launched one to left in the bottom of the fifth, his seventh of the season. And Anthony Rendon, who you may have heard is having a good season, launched his 16th homer of the season in the bottom of the sixth. Rendon now has 50 RBIs and the Nats now have a 10-3 lead in the seventh.