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‘We just wanted to get him healthy’: Nationals send Trevor Rosenthal on rehab assignment

Reliever Trevor Rosenthal said a rehab assignment in Florida might be just what he needs. (Nick Wass/AP)

The Washington Nationals on Monday afternoon sent embattled reliever Trevor Rosenthal to the team’s facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., for a rehab assignment while he remains on the 10-day injured list.

“We just wanted to get him healthy," Manager Dave Martinez said. “There’s no timetable. We just have to get him built up again.”

The Nationals had placed the right-hander on the injured list Friday with a viral infection. Monday’s move is designed to let him recover, build up enough strength to pitch back-to-back days and “get him back as soon as possible,” Martinez said.

Rosenthal said Monday that “health-wise, everything feels good” and that he wants to pitch consistently. He has appeared in seven games, thrown three innings and posted a 36.00 ERA.

Rosenthal maintained his issue is “100 percent” physical and asserted it is not the byproduct of a mental block. He said he has talked to a few other pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery, as Rosenthal did in 2017, and heard what he is going through is “normal.”

“Unfortunately, missing last year, I wasn’t able to get a lot of high-competitive game reps, and I think that’s just something that I need for my nerves,” Rosenthal said. “Being an athlete, letting my body figure things out. To be able to do what I want to do, it takes some reps to do that. I feel like that’s really where I’m at.”

The Nationals signed the former St. Louis Cardinals closer in October. His deal guarantees him at least $7 million for the 2019 season.

Rosenthal’s throwing program will include pitching about every other day, including in simulated games or Gulf Coast League contests. Martinez added that when Rosenthal returns, he still hopes the pitcher will fulfill the late-inning role.

“Track record indicates that’s who he is,” Martinez said. “At one point in time, he was a really good closer. He’s closed over 150 [games]. We just want to make sure he’s healthy and he’s right.”

Before he left, Rosenthal said he discussed his future role with the team and he shares Martinez’s understanding.

“When I come back, I want to be back 100 percent,” he said. “I don’t want to come back into this arena that I’ve been in for the last few weeks, because that wasn’t helping me. The thing I need is to pitch, and sitting out there not pitching is going to make me rusty. Getting sick didn’t help, made me unavailable for a couple days and prolonged that, but when I come back, I’m going to be 100 percent ready to go, and I expect to be treated that way.”

The Nationals also made a roster move Monday, sending pitcher Erick Fedde back to Class AA Harrisburg a day after he threw four scoreless innings of relief against the San Diego Padres. The team recalled infielder Adrián Sanchez from Harrisburg. Sanchez provides depth with third baseman Anthony Rendon out of the lineup Monday for the seventh time in eight games with a left elbow contusion.


St. Louis Cardinals (17-10)

Matt Carpenter, 3B

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B

Paul DeJong, SS

Marcell Ozuna, LF

Jose Martinez, RF

Yadier Molina, C

Jedd Gyorko, 2B

Harrison Bader, CF

Michael Wacha, RHP

Washington Nationals (12-14)

Adam Eaton, RF

Victor Robles, CF

Juan Soto, LF

Howie Kendrick, 3B

Matt Adams, 1B

Carter Kieboom, SS

Brian Dozier, 2B

Yan Gomes, C

Patrick Corbin, LHP

Read more on the Washington Nationals:

There’s no confusion here: The Nationals can’t get relief from bullpen concerns.

As the kids show what they can do, the Nats show what they could still be this year

Ryan Zimmerman’s foot lands him on injured list, Nationals promote Erick Fedde

A glimpse of the future: Young stars erase Nationals’ six-run deficit in 11-inning win