The Washington Nationals placed left-hander Tom Gorzelanny on the 15-Day DL Friday night with inflammation in his left elbow, and called right-hander Yunesky Maya up to take his spot in the rotation starting Sunday against the San Diego Padres.
Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman spoke about Gorzelanny's situation Saturday morning, informing reporters that, "Basically, after his last start, when he went to throw his bullpen, he just really didn't feel like throwing it that day, (his bullpen session in between starts), just was a little uncomfortable, wanted to back it off until another day, and then was doing his long toss and stuff and felt like that would suffice to get him ready for his next start, just do the long-toss instead of the bullpen session, and exploring it further, he said, 'Yeah, you know it's a little tender,' and so we just decided, let's not try to pitch through it."
The Nationals' manager said he didn't anticipate Gorzelanny missing more than the few starts that will take place in the 15-day period he's on the DL, dating back to 5/24. "I think he'll miss a couple of starts," Riggleman said, "because of the fifteen days. I don't know how many, maybe he'll miss three, but I don't think it will be more than that. We'll see how he feels as he's throwing his bullpen sessions. Having a little depth in the Nats' system, and some pitchers with major league experience makes the process of replacing a starter a little easier, and as the Nats' Skipper added, "We certainly know that we have guys down there in Syracuse and Harrisburg who are throwing well that have not pitched in the big leagues before but they're going to pitch in the big leagues, so you're curious to see them too."
Yunesky Maya, described by Nats' GM Mike Rizzo last July when he signed as the Nationals' "first major international signing", struggled at times last season, making his MLB debut after nearly a yearr off and only five starts and 21.1 IP in the Nats' system. In five starts and 26.0 IP with Washington, Maya walked 11 (3.81 BB/9), struck out 12 (4.15 K/9) and posted a 5.88 ERA with a 5.16 FIP. The Nats' General Manager admitted this winter that they might have rushed the right-hander:
"It probably wasn't the best way to handle Yunesky Maya last year," Rizzo said, "but he was very driven and impatient to get to the big leagues and [we] probably put him in a position that was difficult for him to succeed, so I'll take that one on my back. But we won't make that mistake this year, he's going to be ready for Spring Training and I expect to see really good things out of him."
Maya didn't make the Nats' rotation out of Spring Training. Sent to Triple-A Syracuse, the 29-year-old right-hander has gone (1-4) in nine starts and 59.1 IP, walking 12 (1.82 BB/9) and striking out 45 (6.83 K/9) with a 3.79 ERA, and a 3.72 FIP. Maya's start today makes the Nationals the last team in the majors to turn to a sixth starter.