Nationals

Nationals

WASHINGTON -- Trevor Rosenthal was sick in Miami. In Colorado, too. He lost weight rapidly. He stated to the team postgame during the trip he was fatigued, then felt better, then was fatigued again following another haywire appearance in Colorado.

Friday, Rosenthal was placed on the 10-day injured list because of a viral infection, the Nationals announced. The illness, which caused Rosenthal to lose 10 pounds according to general manager Mike Rizzo, gives Washington an immediate solution to extract itself from a trap. Rosenthal needs to pitch in order to fix his ailments. He can not do it competitively at the major-league level. But, the Nationals could also not send him to the minor leagues without his agreement.  

An injury circumvents all those issues. Rosenthal receives time to get his mind and body right. He also will go on a minor-league rehabilitation assignment (if not straight to the spring training facility in West Palm Beach, Fla.) before rejoining the team. After he regains his weight and strength, the focus will be on mechanics. Rosenthal’s ERA is 36.00. His WHIP 5.33.

“For right now, the main thing is get him healthy,” manager Davey Martinez said. “Get his weight back, get him strong again, and then after that it’s just kind of hone in on his mechanics. Really hone in on his mechanics. He’s going to do down there and  try to — like I said he’s a big part of us and we want him back. He’s going to be back but we want him to be able to go out there and not worry about struggling just worry about throwing strikes and helping us win.”

The Nationals previously approached Rosenthal about going to the minor leagues in order to regain command of his pitches.

“There’s contractual rules that preclude you from just sending him to the minor leagues, he has to consent for it,” Rizzo said. “We’ve had discussions on different ways of handling his situation, he’s been totally cooperative. There’s nobody that feels worse about how he is performing than Trevor Rosenthal. He’s a great teammate, the makeup is terrific, he wants to help his team, and he is going to do what he has to do to get better and to help the club.”

Justin Miller was activated to take Rosenthal’s place in the bullpen. Miller made an appearance for Single-A Potomac during a rehabilitation stint necessitated by lower back stiffness. The exchange of relievers, at the least, provides Martinez a usable reliever in his bullpen. Rosenthal’s roster spot was basically a dead one. Martinez could not use him in almost any situation.

Placing Rosenthal on the injured list continues his complex and laborious return from 2017 Tommy John surgery. Rosenthal chose to give himself an extended period for recovery, then hold a showcase for interested teams in the offseason. His recovery went so well, Rosenthal considered joining a team in the second half of the 2018 season.

The Nationals quickly signed him after watching him throw late in 2018. Rosenthal’s high-end velocity had returned. Most figured he had rust to remove before returning to his previous level of a 40-save closer. No one anticipated him morphing into a person barely able to throw a strike.

Rosenthal faced nine batters before recording an out this season. He leads the league in wild pitches. His ERA-plus is 14. The numbers around his limited work this are almost unbelievable.

“He’s a big part of this team,” Rizzo said. “We need to get him fixed.”

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