Taylor Jordan made his last big league start April 27, and he has not pitched since the Nationals optioned him to Class AAA Syracuse on April 29. The two weeks without pitching in a game sparked some concern, especially after Jordan’s velocity nosedived in his last appearance.
But Jordan is healthy and scheduled to start Saturday for Syracuse, according to Mark Scialabba, the Nationals’ director of player development.
“He’s fine, healthy,” Scialabba said. “We were working on some things with him after he was sent down.”
Jordan suffered from a nasty fever and headache in his last big league start, which may have caused the Nationals to hold him back. This year, his fastball has registered 90 mph on average, down a little more than two mph from last season.
A member of the Nationals’ opening rotation, Jordan went 0-3 with a 5.61 ERA in five starts.
>>> Since his promotion to Syracuse, outfielder Destin Hood has continued his standout season. As Syracuse completed a sweep today, Hood went 3 for 4 with two doubles. In 19 games at Class AA Harrisburg, he hit .329/.355/.384. In his first eight games at Class AAA, Hood is hitting .357 with four doubles, a homer, four walks and three strikeouts.
In recent seasons, Hood had slimmed down over the winter to enhance his speed. He showed up this spring more muscular, and it has made a pronounced difference. He is an average corner outfielder with not enough speed to play center, evaluators say.
The Nationals drafted Hood in the second round in 2008. They signed him with a $1.1 million bonus, which was enough to pry him out of a scholarship to play wide receiver for the Alabama football team.
There’s still a lot of season left, but Hood’s success this so far offers yet another example of why prospects can’t be dismissed too soon. He struggled so much in 2012 that he repeated Class AA in 2013 and started there again this season. He’s still just 24. He could be a call-up this season and perhaps an inexpensive bench player for a few years, or even more than that.
The Nationals declined to protect Hood from the Rule 5 draft this winter. If Hood keeps producing, they probably will have to this winter.
>>> Matt Purke fired six scoreless innings last night, which put an end, or at least paused, to his early-season struggles. Purke, who is on the 40-man roster by virtue of the $4 million big league contract he signed out of the 2011 draft, still has a 7.18 ERA.
Because of his roster status, the Nationals have needed to option Purke to the minors for three years. Normally, this would mean he is out of options, and that the Nationals would risk losing him next spring if they didn’t carry him on the big league roster. But, because of an arcane rule concerning the draft, that’s not the case – the Nationals believe they will be allowed to option Purke again next season.