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UPDATED: Nats announce four roster moves ahead of O's series


UPDATED: Nats announce four roster moves ahead of O's series

[UPDATED: 6:12 p.m.]

BALTIMORE — The Nationals placed Denard Span on the disabled list and Jordan Zimmermann on the paternity leave list Friday afternoon, part of a flurry of roster moves before the start of their weekend series against the Orioles.

Infielder Wilmer Difo was recalled from Class AA Harrisburg to take Span's roster spot and give the Nationals another position player this weekend. Reliever Aaron Barrett, meanwhile, was activated off the DL after missing 24 games with a right biceps strain, and will take Zimmermann's roster spot for now.

Span's placement on the 15-day DL — the team officially says he has back tightness — had been surmised for several days. The injured center fielder flew to Dallas on Thursday to be examined by a specialist after a month spent dealing with occasional back spasms and made it clear he did not expect to play at all in this weekend's series.

Manager Matt Williams said the MRI found no structural damage and they believe he will be able to return soon after games resume following the All-Star break.

"It's good news. The results of the MRI and the specialist he saw found nothing alarming, which is good," Williams said. "We have to look at his history and look at the two surgeries he had this winter and say that there's some changes in there. So we have to address them. We have him another set of exercises to further his strength. He'll start that process and he'll be back quickly, so that's a good sign."

That roster move is retroactive to July 7, so Span will be eligible to return as soon as July 22. With the All-Star break next week, he could wind up missing as few as nine games, assuming he's not more seriously injured.

Span expressed worry before he left for Dallas that his back injury was something serious, that it could jeopardize his career. Williams said those feelings are understandable and that Span is relieved to know his diagnosis.

"You can understand that. You don't know why something is happening and you're trying to figure it all out. Some days are good, some days are not so good. All the news is great, that will give him a sense of relief. It is certainly a relief for all of us and it will allow him to get aggressive in his rehab to get back in this short time," Williams explained.

Zimmermann, meanwhile, will start on Saturday. Sunday's starter has yet to be determined, though all indications point to Max Scherzer getting the nod.

Barrett returns to the Nationals' bullpen after missing nearly four weeks with a biceps strain. The right-hander was 3-2 with a 5.06 ERA in 30 games before suffering the injury while throwing a pitch in Milwaukee, but did not surrender a run in four rehab appearances with Class A Potomac.

Barrett's injury looked ominous at the time, and he admitted Friday he was initially worried he had suffered serious damage to his arm.

"A couple outings before that, it was really bothering me," he said. "And then when I pitched in that game, the last five or six pitches, I literally couldn't feel my arm. So it definitely scared me, for sure. I didn't know if it was anything more serious than it was. I think if I would've continued to go on, I think I could've really hurt something more extreme. It could be a blessing in disguise. Hopefully I caught it before it got worse."

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Max Scherzer's named Thursday's starter and penciled in for the postseason

Max Scherzer's named Thursday's starter and penciled in for the postseason

WASHINGTON -- So, it’s settled: Max Scherzer will pitch Thursday.

The Nationals’ best pitcher played catch in right field Tuesday. He felt well a day after a full bullpen session. He, finally, is aligned to make his first start since July 6.

Why Thursday? Well, this is where things are more interesting. Davey Martinez and his staff mapped out Scherzer’s possible starts from Thursday to the end of the season to see how he lines up if he would pitch every fifth game (not every fifth day because of scheduled off-days). If he pitches Thursday, this is how the rest of his season would look:

July 25 vs. Colorado

July 30 vs. Atlanta

Aug. 5 at San Francisco

Aug. 11 at New York

Aug. 17 vs. Milwaukee

Aug. 22 at Pittsburgh

Aug. 28 vs. Baltimore

Sept. 5 vs. New York

Sept. 8 at Atlanta

Sept. 14 vs. Atlanta

Sept. 20 at Miami

Sept. 25 vs. Philadelphia

Oct. 1 Wild-Card Game

Note three appearances against the first-place Braves. Consider a late-September start against Philadelphia. Then, of course, being on an extra day of rest should the wild-card game be necessary.

“You know Max,” Martinez said. “He wants to pitch today. He wants to pitch tomorrow. He wants to pitch Friday, Saturday, Sunday.”

Can things go wrong between now and then? Yes. A rainout could move Scherzer around. A recurrence of the mid-back strain which put him on the 10-day injured list July 13, retroactive to July 10, could happen. But, the Nationals took the time to map this out when considering whether Scherzer will pitch Thursday opposite Colorado or Friday against the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers. 

One wrinkle in this projection: The final series of the season is at Nationals Park versus Cleveland. The Indians start play Tuesday just three games out of the division lead in the American League Central and two ahead for a wild-card spot. Which means Cleveland could be playing for everything (from the division title, to hosting the wild-card game, to just getting into the postseason) or nothing because it has clinched a spot. Scherzer would not be on schedule for that series.

More immediately, Monday’s rainout forced the Nationals to massage their rotation. Erick Fedde was moved from Monday’s start to the first game of Wednesday’s split day-night doubleheader. Anibal Sanchez will pitch Friday. Joe Ross is expected to fill the open spot Saturday. Patrick Corbin, Scherzer and Sanchez will line up to face Atlanta when it visits next week.

There was one other starting pitcher issue exposed Tuesday. Austin Voth (right biceps tendinitis) has stopped throwing. He will have an MRI this week and his future is to be determined. Not so for Scherzer. He's expected back Thursday, then Oct. 1, if necessary.


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Washington Nationals Roundup: Rain, roster moves and Ryan Zimmerman to the IL

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Washington Nationals Roundup: Rain, roster moves and Ryan Zimmerman to the IL

Rain in D.C. postponed the Nationals' series opener against the Rockies on Monday. But although no players took the field, there was plenty of roster movement.

Check out the latest news and notes surrounding the Nationals.

Player Notes: 

With Monday's game being pushed to a Wednesday split doubleheader, it's likely RHP Erick Fedde will start one of Wednesday's games. RHP Stephen Strasburg will still make his scheduled start on Tuesday. 

RHP Austin Voth was set to throw on Monday after he was placed on the 10-day injured list Sunday with right biceps tendinitis.

1B Ryan Zimmerman was also placed on the 10-day injured list Monday after his plantar fasciitis in his right foot flared up on Sunday. He was kept out of play for the same injury earlier this season.

The Nationals transferred RHP Justin Miller from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for RHP Michael Blazek, whose contract Washington purchased from Triple-A Fresno on Monday. Blazek's last major-league appearance was in 2017.

RHP Kyle McGowin was optioned to Double-A Harrisburg on Monday. He'll rejoin the Senators' rotation.

OF Andrew Stevenson was recalled from Triple-A Fresno and will back up all three outfield positions in D.C.

Meanwhile, RHP Max Scherzer threw a full bullpen session on Monday without any problems. He'll likely return to the Nationals' rotation either Thursday (against the Rockies) or Friday (against the Dodgers).


RP Justin Miller: Shoulder, 60-Day IL, out until mid-July

1B Ryan Zimmerman: Foot, 10-Day IL, status uncertain

SP Austin Voth: Shoulder, 10-Day IL, status uncertain

SP Max Scherzer: Back, 10-Day IL, out until late July

RP Jonny Venters: Shoulder, 10-Day IL, out indefinitely 

SP Jeremy Hellickson: Shoulder, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely 

RP Koda Glover: Elbow, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely 

RP Austen Williams: Shoulder, 10-Day IL, out indefinitely 

Coming Up:

Tuesday 7/23:  Nationals vs. Rockies, 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park

Wednesday 7/24: Nationals vs. Rockies, 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park

Thursday 7/25: Nationals vs. Rockies, 4:05 p.m., Nationals Park

Source: Rotoworld