Nationals Notebook

Nationals Pitcher Craig Stammen Is Scratched From His Next Start Because of Elbow Soreness

By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 3, 2009

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 2 -- Rookie starter Craig Stammen, a member of the Washington Nationals' pitching rotation since May, has been scratched from his start on Friday because of elbow soreness. An MRI exam, scheduled for Thursday in Washington, will determine the severity of the injury.

"I don't really know what's going on," Stammen said of his elbow. "It's just painful. It doesn't feel good. It's kind of something that's built up over the course of the whole year. It's something I've pretty much dealt with over the course of the whole season. It's just kind of time to get it checked out right now."

Stammen, who has a 4-7 record and a 5.11 ERA in 19 starts, admitted that he had been trying to "gut it out" and finish the season.

With rosters expanding in September, though, the Nationals have plenty of freedom to use other pitchers from the 40-man roster in the rotation. In the meantime, Garrett Mock will take Stammen's place in the rotation, starting Friday against the Florida Marlins and pitching on regular rest because of the upcoming off day.

"We're kind of crossing our fingers that it's nothing to be too concerned about," interim manager Jim Riggleman said.

"Being September and we've got extra bodies coming, we're just going to be resting him. Whether he pitches after that, we're not sure."

Garate Is Acquired

The Nationals acquired pitcher Victor Garate off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, completing the Ronnie Belliard trade.

Garate, who turns 25 later this month, is a left-handed reliever who was putting up strong numbers for Los Angeles's Class AA affiliate in the Southern League.

In 47 appearances with Chattanooga, Garate had a 2.04 ERA (53 innings) with 56 strikeouts and 23 walks.

Garate will be added to Washington's 40-man roster, and will be available to pitch out of the bullpen for the rest of the season.

The acquisition of Garate completes the Sunday trade that swapped Belliard for Luis Garcia, a minor league reliever, and a player to be named later.

General Manager Mike Rizzo called Garate "a versatile pitcher," a setup guy who's well-suited against both left-handed and right-handed hitters.

"He's got a funky delivery that fools some hitters," Rizzo said.

"He's kind of between a three-quarters and a low three-quarters [arm] slot, so he's really tough on left-handers. The league is hitting .191 against him, and he's shown a propensity to throw all his pitches for strikes at any given time.

"He's not a soft-tosser. He throws up to 91-92 [mph], and he's got a good sweeping breaking ball and change-up."

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