After following up his best start a National last week with a shaky one on Tuesday night against St. Louis, the Nationals optioned starter Yunesky Maya to Class AAA Syracuse on Wednesday, Manager Jim Riggleman said.
Tom Gorzelanny, who has been rehabbing an inflamed and sore left elbow, will take Maya’s spot in the Nationals’ unusually durable rotation, start Sunday and come off the disabled list then, Riggleman said.
The Nationals also called up reliever Collin Balester from Syracuse to take Maya’s spot on the roster. Another move is expected later to accommodate the left-handed Gorzelanny.
On Tuesday, Gorzelanny said he was feeling stronger and ready to move back into the rotation. He made his first rehab start with Syracuse on Monday, allowing four runs in four innings.
“Tom is going to be a big part of this rotation,” Riggleman said Tuesday, “whether it’s five days from now or the next [start].”
Starting Sunday will allow Gorzelanny an extra day’s rest and a chance to squeeze in one strenuous bullpen session and two lighter ones before his start. Gorzelanny is 2-4 in nine starts this season with a 4.25 ERA.
Balester, who returns to the Nationals for another stint, has a 2-0 record with one save and a 3.24 ERA in 19 relief appearances in Syracuse. He has pitched in 3.1 innings for the Nationals this season.
Maya, who signed with the Nationals last July from Cuba, is 0-1 with a 6.86 ERA in four starts this season. On Tuesday, he pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on nine hits.