Nationals call up Clippard after Rainey suffers UCL sprain

Tyler Clippard

The Nationals placed closer Tanner Rainey on the 60-Day Injured List with a UCL sprain in his right elbow Wednesday, sidelining their hard-throwing reliever for at least two months in a surprising move announced between the two games of their doubleheader against the Seattle Mariners.

Rainey, 29, carried a 3.30 ERA with 12 saves and 36 strikeouts in 29 appearances for the Nationals this season. While he’s had an up-and-down year that’s included four blown saves, Rainey was a potential trade chip for Washington at the deadline with his high-90s fastball and lively slider.

Now, he’s headed to the IL for the third time in as many seasons and can't return until mid-September at the earliest.

In a corresponding move, the Nationals selected the contract of veteran right-hander Tyler Clippard. The 37-year-old has appeared in parts of 15 major-league seasons, including seven with Washington from 2008 to 2014 during which he made two All-Star teams and collected 34 saves and 150 holds as a dominant set-up man and occasional fill-in closer.

Clippard has spent the entire 2022 season with the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate Rochester Red Wings. He’s sported a 2.48 ERA with 49 strikeouts to just 17 walks in 33 games while earning praise from members of the Nationals’ organization for helping mentor some of their prospects.