Trevor Rosenthal's first stint with the Nationals went about as poorly as it could have. Sporting an ERA of infinity for some time, the reliever acquired in the offseason only made it through seven appearances before the Nationals decided to make a change. Part of this was due to a nagging injury, but the demotion would also allow Rosenthal a chance to figure things out.
After over a month in the minors, he finally got his second chance, and it went pretty well.
Handling the final frame in Washington's 12-1 victory over the White Sox on Monday night, Rosenthal worked a scoreless ninth inning. Yes, the appearance came in a very low-leverage situation, but his work on the mound was the best he's shown all season. For example, his only other outing that didn't result in a run being scored happened because after just two batters and no outs recorded he was pulled from the game.
Rosenthal did walk one batter in his return but was able to regain composure and keep things under control courtesy of a timely double play.
Monday's one inning is far from the proof needed to show that Rosenthal can become a trusted option for the Nationals. But for a pitcher whose struggles stuck out in a bullpen full of poor performances, it's a step in the right direction.
Now, Rosenthal will have to continue the trend consistently, and get it done in some more high-leverage situations.
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