The Nats announced that the 30-year-old reliever was called up from Triple-A Syracuse after they confirmed reports that 28-year-old lefty Gio Gonzalez was headed to the 15-Day DL with "left shoulder inflammation."
The #Nats have recalled RHP Ryan Mattheus and placed LHP Gio Gonzalez on the 15-Day DL with left shoulder inflammation.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 18, 2014
Mattheus got off to a slow start this spring when he pulled a muscled in his chest/rib cage while jogging during Spring Training. He was held out of workouts with what was later diagnosed as costochondritis, an inflammation of a rib or the cartilage between the ribs.
After he was shut down with the rib issue, Mattheus was behind in his preparation for the season, so he started the year at Triple-A Syracuse where he put up a 5.40 ERA, a 3.95 FIP, three walks (2.70 BB/9) and eight Ks (7.20 K/9) in nine games and 10 IP for the Nationals' top minor league affiliate before he was called up in late April when the Nats optioned right-handed starter Taylor Jordan to Triple-A.
Mattheus was a big part of the Nationals' bullpen in 2012, making 66 appearances for the NL East Division winners over which he posted a 2.85 ERA, a 4.42 FIP, 19 walks (2.58 BB/9) and 41 Ks (5.56 K/9) in 66 1/3 IP. Mattheus missed significant time in 2013 when he suffered a broken bone in his right hand while punching a locker after a particularly tough outing against the San Diego Padres in Petco Park.
During his first stint with the Nationals this season, Mattheus threw three scoreless innings out of the Nationals' bullpen. On the year at Triple-A Syracuse, he's saved two games while posting a 5.93 ERA in 13 relief appearances.
No word from the Nats on which pitcher will take Gio Gonzalez's spot in the rotation when it comes around this week, but Mattheus will provide help for an overworked Nats' bullpen.