After announcing that Dan Haren would be placed on the DL with shoulder weakness, Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson told Nats radio announcer Charlie Slowes that they'd ultimately like to get a healthy Haren back at the back of their rotation, but in the meantime, he'd rather not reshape his reconfigured bullpen again by pulling newly-appointed long man Ross Ohlendorf out of a relief role.
"We've got some interesting young arms in the minor leagues," Johnson said, "we'll address that come Tuesday." When Mr. Slowes inquired if that meant the team would turn to someone new who hasn't yet appeared in the majors, Johnson said simply, "There's some good reports on several guys, but we'll address that when the need comes."
The 70-year-old Nationals' manager wasn't any more forthcoming when he spoke to reporters after the Nats' 7-6 loss to the Rockies on Sunday and was asked about potentially finding a replacement for Haren on the trade market. "I don't think so," Johnson said. "We've got a couple guys we're really high on that we might give an opportunity up here. There's also the opportunity to use [Ross] Ohlendorf in that role, but don't really want to put a younger pitcher in the bullpen and put him in a long relief role." The first name that came to many people's minds, of course, was Taylor Jordan's.
The 24-year-old, '09 9th Round pick made his 14th start of the year and 15th appearance this season tonight for the Harrisburg Senators. Heading into action with the Nationals' Double-A affiliate, he had an (8-1) record with 0.95 ERA on the year, which he's split between Class-A Advanced Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg in the Eastern League. In his time with the P-Nats, Taylor, who had Tommy John surgery in 2011, was (2-1) with a 1.24 ERA, 2.46 FIP, six walks (1.49 BB/9) and 29 Ks (7.18 K/9) in 36 1/3 innings pitched.
Before tonight, Jordan was (6-0) with a 0.73 ERA, a 2.28 FIP, eight walks (1.47 BB/9) and 42 Ks (7.71 K/9) in eight games, seven starts and 49 IP with the Senators. Jordan's eighth start, and ninth appearance with Harrisburg ended after 5.0 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 65 P, 45 S, 6/4 GO/FO tonight with the right-hander boasting a 0.83 ERA.
Asked a scout if he thought Taylor Jordan (0.93 ERA at AA) was ready: "Will throw strikes, not afraid to challenge hitters with FBs. Yes."— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) June 24, 2013
Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell predicted it would be either Jordan or Ohlendorf filling in Haren's spot in the rotation as the trade dealine approached next month. MLB.com's Bill Ladson wrote today in his Mailbag column that Taylor was the "leading candidate to replace Haren in the rotation." Though he doesn't cite a source for his speculation and could simply be referring to reports like the two noted here, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick told a reader in a chat who asked about Haren's replacement, "... word is that Taylor Jordan will probably replace him in the rotation."
As Patriot-News' reporter Geoff Morrow noted after Jordan's start tonight for the Senators, the right-hander (in his second year back from Tommy John) was reportedly restricted to 5.0 innings and 75 pitches by Harrisburg manager Matt LeCroy, "... because of all the innings he's accumulated lately, going 7+ with 84+ pitches in his previous five starts." If any decision has been made, LeCroy and Jordan told reporters they were unaware, with LeCroy saying that the directive came from Nats' Director of Player Development Doug Harris and Pitching Coordinator Spin Williams, who did not, however, provide any information on any pitch limits going forward.
If there's another pitcher out there under consideration, his name has yet to surface in any reports. The Nationals, as Davey Johnson said, are expected to make an official announcement on Tuesday.