On the same day the Nationals announced their plans to call up rookie Reynaldo Lopez to start against the Braves on Saturday, despite the fact he has struggled recently both in the majors and the minors, they saw a veteran pitcher take a significant step in their farm system.
Longtime MLB starter Mat Latos was activated by Triple-A Syracuse, CSN has learned. Latos, 28, was signed by the Nats to a minor league deal on June 29.
The eight-year MLB veteran made three appearances with the Gulf Coast League Nationals and allowed just two earned runs across 11 innings with 18 strikeouts. Now, he's just one step away from returning to the majors.
"It’s my understanding that Latos threw the ball well the last time out. And so we do have some capable backups if indeed they are ready to pitch," manager Dusty Baker said.
Some maybe didn't think much of Latos' signing when it happened. But Baker confirmed there is a decent chance we see the Alexandria, Va.-native in Washington.
“That’s why we signed these guys. We didn’t sign them just to fill out a roster, we signed them to hopefully help us if we need it. Who knows, this could be an ace in the hole after a while," Baker said.
Latos has not pitched in the majors since June 7. He was cut by the Chicago White Sox on June 9 after posting a 4.62 ERA in 11 starts.
The other pitcher Baker was referring to was Bronson Arroyo, another former pitcher of his from his days in Cincinnati. Arroyo, a 15-year MLB veteran, is currently sidelined with bicep soreness.
Arroyo made two appearances in the GCL and allowed five earned runs in 9 2/3 innings before the injury. He last pitched on July 2.
Drew's timeline to return still unclear
Infielder Stephen Drew remains out with an inner ear issue, now nearly three weeks from when he was placed on the disabled list on July 24. The Nats say Drew has been ramping up his rehab lately, but was also scheduled to see a neurologist to determine the next step in his treatment.
“We don’t know. It’s the same situation," Baker said. "He says one day he feels great and the next day he still feels it. He said it was kind of similar to when he had a concussion. The inner ear is — I’ve never had it, but boy I don’t want it. For those of you out there that have never had it. It’s not an overnight thing. It’s not like you can just take an aspirin for it and be all right... he’s been upping his activities for sure, he’s trying to get ready.”
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