With Matt Belisle landing on the 15-day disabled list with a right calf strain, the Nationals have called up lefty reliever Sammy Solis to take his place in the bullpen.
Belisle, 35, exited Tuesday night's game against the Phillies after throwing just three pitches in the eighth inning. He re-aggravated an injury from this offseason by stepping off the mound to move towards a groundball hit to first base.
The Nats still don't know the full extent of his strain and how long he will be out.
"It was bad enough to put him on the DL because he couldn't cover first base," manager Dusty Baker said. " It's good that we didn't let him throw anymore and that we stopped it when we did."
Solis, 27, joins the Nats for the first time this season. The former second round pick debuted on April 30 of last year and held a 3.38 ERA in 18 total appearances.
Solis had allowed just one earned run in nine innings of work at Triple-A Syracuse this season.
"Fastball location was the biggest thing," Solis said. "That’s one thing I lost last year, a lot of up in the zone. This year I’ve really been focused on getting it down. That’s what (Mike Maddux) and [Baker] stressed when I got optioned in spring training: 'You’ve got the stuff, you’ve just got to fine-tune it a little bit.' So I’ve been working on that in Syracuse.”
A converted starter, Solis is ready to fill whatever bullpen role the Nats ask of him.
"I think the whole thing has come around now where I think I’m a reliever now. I kind of identify as one instead of a starter," he said.
That could mean multiple innings, especially in the short-term with Yusmeiro Petit having thrown 77 pitches in Sunday's win. Solis believes he is well-suited for long relief.
"We’ve been doing it in Syracuse. It’s so cold up there that the starters haven’t really made it past five, six at the most. So we’ve been covering a lot of innings. So every outing I’ve had, save one, has been two innings. So, two or three if you need it," he said.
Solis, naturally, is just happy to be back in the majors. And this time it feels a little different.
"I’m not shaking in my boots anymore. I’m a little more comfortable now, and hopefully ready to contribute,” he said.
Revere ready for a rehab assignment
Ben Revere is close to taking a major step in his road back from a right oblique strain, as the outfielder is prepared to begin a rehab assignment with the Syracuse Chiefs. Baker said he hopes to have him for their series at the Chicago Cubs, which takes place May 5-8 at Wrigley Field.
Revere is expected to play just five innings for at least two games before working his way up to seven and then nine. There may be some off-days spread out in between those games, as well.