MILWAUKEE — Every September, teams across baseball welcome an assortment of new faces from their farm systems as rosters expand. Teams certain to make the playoffs can rest their important players. Teams in the hunt can solidify holes for the push. Teams out of the race can assess future pieces.
The 2017 Nationals fall in the first category with a gigantic lead in the National League East, but there won’t be many, if any, new call-ups joining their ranks in September. Instead, there’s a chance all their call-ups will have already spent some time in the majors this season because of the injuries that have ravaged the club.
That will be the case for the first wave. According to Manager Dusty Baker, relievers Enny Romero and Austin Adams will join the team Friday. Romero was an important cog in the Nationals’ bullpen for most of the season, serving as one of the few reliable arms as the unit sputtered before a July overhaul.
Romero posted a 3.99 ERA while striking out 10.8 batters per nine innings before he landed on the disabled list on Aug. 4 with a left forearm strain. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Syracuse on Aug. 17, and allowed five runs (three earned) in 6 1/3 innings across seven appearances. He’ll have a month to reestablish himself in an improved bullpen and make a case for a spot on the playoff roster.
“He’s been pitching so hopefully he can come back and we can learn something,” Baker said before the Nationals opened a four-game series against the Brewers.
Adams, on the other hand, made his major league debut against the Reds in July and the brief stint was forgettable. The 26-year-old right-hander faced five batters and didn’t record an out before he was removed. He surrendered a hit, walked two, hit a batter, and had a batter reach on an error. Two runs, one earned, were charged to him, giving him an ERA of infinity.
Adrian Sanchez, Andrew Stevenson, Rafael Bautista, Pedro Severino, and A.J. Cole are some of the other players expected to join the Nationals in September.
Right-hander Ryan Madson, one of the relievers acquired to fix the bullpen, has a locker at Miller Park, but Baker hadn’t seen him before meeting with reporters Thursday afternoon. Baker said he expects Madson to be with the club by Friday. Madson has been on the disabled list since Aug. 17 with a right index finger sprain.
On the starting pitching front, Baker said Wednesday that the Nationals were “flirting” with employing a six-man starting rotation to conserve innings, which explained the unexpected “TBA” listed in Saturday’s pitching probables. Max Scherzer was listed as Sunday’s pitcher, with an extra day of rest. But those plans changed Thursday. Scherzer was bumped a day to Saturday to pitch on regular rest, while Edwin Jackson is listed to start Sunday. Baker, however, said the Nationals could go to a six-man rotation at a later point.
“It was subject to change and now we’re going to give them an extra day at a different time,” Baker said. “So it just changed from yesterday to today.”
Jayson Werth will bat second for the first time since returning from injury Monday. It’s where he batted most of last season and this season before he fractured his left foot in early June, but Baker said he won’t be there every day — at least while Bryce Harper is out. Instead, Baker expects to have Howie Kendrick, who isn’t in Thursday’s lineup, to bat second when he plays, which will mostly be against left-handers.
Trea Turner SS
Jayson Werth RF
Daniel Murphy 2B
Ryan Zimmerman 1B
Adam Lind LF
Anthony Rendon 3B
Matt Wieters C
Michael A. Taylor CF
Gio Gonzalez LHP
Jonathan Villar 2B
Hernan Perez 3B
Ryan Braun LF
Domingo Santana RF
Jesus Aguilar 1B
Keon Broxton CF
Stephen Vogt C
Orlando Arcia SS
RHP Zach Davies
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