By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 17, 2007
The Washington Nationals' fragile pitching situation took another turn yesterday when right-hander Jerome Williams was placed on the 15-day disabled list after hurting his shoulder in the third inning of Tuesday's game against Atlanta.
An MRI exam revealed a slightly torn labrum but no damage to the rotator cuff. He will not throw for 10 to 14 days before being reevaluated. Williams, who had been activated earlier Tuesday after recovering from a sprained ankle, joins starters John Patterson and Shawn Hill on the disabled list.
"My ankle was fine and -- boom -- I come out throwing pretty good and next thing you know this happens," Williams said before last night's game, in which the Nationals turned to middle reliever Levale Speigner to start. "So it's like, 'What else is going to happen?' "
Discussing the moment he suffered the injury, Williams added: "It wasn't really bothering me, and then I threw that slider [to Andruw Jones]. I didn't know what happened. I felt a little pop in my shoulder, and I never felt that kind of pain before."
The Nationals purchased the contract of left-hander Billy Traber from Class AAA Columbus and assigned him to the bullpen. Joel Hanrahan probably would have been called up from Columbus if not for a hamstring injury, Manager Manny Acta said.
Acta also announced that lefty Micah Bowie, who has not started in the majors since 1999 with the Cubs, will start on Sunday against the Orioles at RFK Stadium. Bowie made four minor league starts the last four years. Bowie, 32, threw 47 pitches in two innings after relieving Williams on Tuesday and will be allowed to throw about 75 on Sunday, Acta said.
"I am more than happy to do that," Bowie said. "Obviously, you get the chance to take the ball to start the game, that's an awesome thing."
Acta said he decided to start Bowie instead of Traber because Traber "is very resilient. He's able to pitch almost every day if he has to. We see him in the future as a situational lefty, not a starter anyway. . . . Bowie has done that before and also the fact that he is not as resilient as bouncing back on back-to-back days, so we will get the most out of him every five days."
In the long term, Acta said he hopes to have Hill and Patterson back soon and that he believes his staff will continue to perform well.
"We have been able to survive," he said. "The bullpen has been shaky at times, but they've also been big in a lot of games. The pitching staff has done a good job to really step up when those guys have gone down."
To make room for Traber on the 40-man roster, the Nationals moved first baseman Nick Johnson from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. It does not affect the date in which he is eligible to be reinstated to the active roster.