After the Nationals bullpen threw 10 scoreless innings in Tuesday’s marathon 16-inning, 4-2 win, Class AAA Syracuse starter Taylor Hill is expected to join the team in Milwaukee, according to people familiar with the situation. Hill’s college coach, Tim Corbin at Vanderbilt, even congratulated Hill on Twitter on Wednesday morning.
Hill, 25, has dominated at Syracuse. The 6-foot-3 control pitcher is 9-2 with a 1.92 ERA in 93 2/3 innings at Syracuse, along with a superb 7.22 K/BB rate. He was expected to start Wednesday for Syracuse but will now be available in the Nationals’ tired bullpen for today’s matinee.
With Blake Treinen an option to start in Saturday’s doubleheader in Chicago, and Syracuse pitchers Taylor Jordan, Christian Garcia and Ryan Mattheus on the disabled list, Hill was the available and fresh arm. Xavier Cedeno was sent back to Syracuse last week to make room for Gio Gonzalez and hasn’t spent the mandated 10 days in the minor leagues before he can return.
Every Washington reliever appeared in Tuesday’s game and had thrown several times in the previous days. Hill is expected to arrive in Milwaukee before first pitch.
The Nationals have not yet announced any moves. Manager Matt Williams said after Tuesday’s game that calling up a fresh arm was an option, but he could perhaps get an inning out of Jerry Blevins and Craig Stammen on Wednesday. The Nationals would have to clear a roster spot for Hill to make him available. They could make room on the 40-man roster by putting Matt Purke, who had Tommy John surgery, on the 60-day disabled list.
Clearing a spot on the 25-man roster will be more difficult. The Nationals could option Aaron Barrett to Syracuse for 10 days or simply recall him for Saturday’s doubleheader, taking advantage of the 26th man rule. Or the Nationals could designate bench player Gregg Dobbs, who is 6 for 28, for assignment.