The Nationals finally decided how they want to address Sean Doolittle’s ongoing struggles.
They placed him on the 10-day injured list Thursday because of "right knee fatigue." Doolittle has a 15.00 ERA, his velocity is down and he has been hit hard in every spot he’s pitched in this season. Though, as recently as Monday, Doolittle was labeled healthy by the organization.
Seth Romero was selected to replace him. Romero, a left-handed starter who will be in the bullpen, was the Nationals’ 2017 first-round pick.
He was sent home from spring training in 2018 for an undisclosed violation of team rules before needing Tommy John surgery later that year. He worked at the alternate training site in Fredericksburg this year before being added to the Nationals’ five-man taxi squad for their first 2020 regular-season road trip.
Romero’s service-time clock will not be affected by being placed on the active roster. Any player making his debut after the sixth day of the season will not receive credit for a full year, allowing the organization to retain six full years of control before a player can become a free agent.
The Nationals had 39 players on their 40-man roster. So, they had a slot for Romero without needing to alter the roster. They just needed to create space on the active 28-man roster.
The team is in desperate need of left-handed pitching help. Sam Freeman was injured Wednesday night against the Mets and is done for the season because of a flexor strain. Freeman told Davey Martinez he “heard something pop” in his elbow Wednesday.
Roenis Elías was placed on the 60-day injured list two weeks ago because of a flexor strain. Martinez said Thursday that Elías was recently shut down again after a setback when throwing. He will not return this season.
So, Romero is in. The Nationals will try to get Doolittle right. They are probably also on the hunt for more left-handed help.
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