As Matt Williams explained it, the Washington Nationals were originally considering calling up either Blake Treinen or Taylor Jordan to take Gio Gonzalez's spot in the rotation tonight after Gonzalez was placed on the 15-Day DL with left shoulder inflammation.
"We're going to talk about that this afternoon," Williams said after Gonzalez's DL stint was announced. "We haven't made that decision yet. Both [Treinen] and Taylor Jordan have pitched very well, so we'll make that decision."
When Treinen was named as the starter for the first game of the Nationals' four-game set with the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park, the Nats' skipper explained that after the way the 25-year-old right-hander pitched in a spot start against the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this month, he'd earned the opportunity.
"It's hard to deny him that opportunity after how he pitched against the Dodgers. It's really hard," the Nationals' manager told reporters. "He was on a limited pitch count. He pitched really well against them. He has been building from there. He has been normal [rest], so he'll be prepared."
Treinen, a former Oakland A's prospect acquired in the three-way Michael Morse deal with the Athletics and Seattle Mariners, allowed six hits and three unearned runs, but received no decision in the Nats' loss to LA in his first start in the majors after he worked out of the bullpen with the Nationals early this season.
In 11 2/3 IP in the majors this season, Treinen has a 0.77 ERA, a 2.04 FIP, two walks (1.54 BB/9) and nine Ks (6.94 K/9) in four games.
Upon returning to Triple-A after his outing against the Dodgers, Treinen made two starts for the Syracuse Chiefs, giving up 11 hits and three earned runs in 11 2/3 IP in which he struck out eight. On the year with the Nationals' top minor league affiliate, the Wichita, Kansas-born starter is (2-0) with a 1.96 ERA, a 2.76 FIP, five walks (1.96 BB/9) and 17 Ks (6.65 K/9) in six starts and 23 IP.
Williams made the official announcement that Treinen would face the Pirates tonight after the Nats' 2-1 loss to the Reds on Wednesday, while also announcing the corresponding roster move.
"Ryan Mattheus back to Syracuse," he said. "He pitched really well. But we've got to get Blake here to start, so Ryan Mattheus is going to go back to Syracuse."
Meanwhile, Taylor Jordan, the other starter originally considered as an option for the spot start in Gonzalez's stead, was lifted from his third outing with the Triple-A Chiefs with soreness in his elbow. Jordan, 25, started the season in the Nationals' rotation, but he was optioned to Syracuse after five starts in which he was (0-3) with a 5.61 ERA and a 4.43 FIP.
Nationals' Assistant GM Doug Harris told The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore on Wednesday that, "... the Chiefs were exercising caution when they removed Jordan with soreness in his arm following three slow-moving innings, and they do not expect further complications."
In his three starts for Syracuse after he was sent down, Jordan has a 1.93 ERA, a 3.47 FIP, two walks (1.29 BB/9) and 10 Ks (6.43 K/9) in 14 IP.
Treinen faces off against Pirates' right-hander Edinson Volquez tonight in the 7:05 pm EDT start in Pittsburgh.
• While you wait for the start of tonight's game, check out the latest edition of Nats Nightly with the District Sports Page's Dave Nichols and FBB's Doghouse going back and forth on the Nationals' sac bunt late in yesterday's loss to the Reds: