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Nationals Notebook

Nationals' Jason Bergmann, Kip Wells and Garrett Mock Will Provide Middle Relief

Jason Bergmann, like Kip Wells and Garrett Mock, the other pitchers called up by the Nationals to provide middle relief, has previously been a starter, which means he should be able to eat up innings.
Jason Bergmann, like Kip Wells and Garrett Mock, the other pitchers called up by the Nationals to provide middle relief, has previously been a starter, which means he should be able to eat up innings. (By Lawrence Jackson -- Associated Press)
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By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In one sweeping move -- a drastic bullpen renovation -- three new right-handers joined the roster. Jason Bergmann, Kip Wells and Garrett Mock were told at once on Sunday night in Syracuse of their promotion to the big leagues. All three arrived Monday afternoon at Nationals Park. And now, they'll all serve similar roles in a Washington Nationals bullpen searching for anybody adept at recording outs.

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"Those guys that came in, they all kind of fall into the 'middle guy' category right now," Manager Manny Acta said.

Despite the bullpen's struggles so far this year, the Nationals intend to keep its back end well-defined. Joe Beimel, by far the most effective reliever this year (1.35 ERA), will continue to handle the eighth-inning duties. Despite two blown saves over the weekend, Joel Hanrahan will retain duties as the closer.

If Hanrahan continues to struggle, Mock -- who saved two games with Class AAA Syracuse -- would be a logical fall-back. But for now, Acta said, Hanrahan is not on a short leash.

"No, not at all," Acta said. "There's no such thing as a short leash for two blown saves. I think even the great Mariano Rivera has blown saves back-to-back in the past."

Bergmann, Wells and Mock all have one other thing in common: Each has served as a starter. Wells was filling that role with the Chiefs. Bergmann and Mock each started at varying periods last year with Washington. For a team in need of inning-eating relievers -- especially because of its young, untested starting rotation -- the converted starters fill a purpose.

"It's a good addition," Acta said. "I think every one of them can go multiple innings."

Mock Shocked by Promotion

Mock admitted a bit of surprise at his call-up. For one thing, he pitched in only five games with Syracuse. Two of those were among the worst games of his life, he said. In back-to-back appearances, Mock allowed three earned runs in one inning, then four earned runs in one inning. He walked a combined five guys. Even after two subsequent scoreless appearances, his ERA still registered at 17.18.

"I definitely wasn't expecting to get called up this fast," Mock said.


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