Remember Taylor Jordan? Washington's 25-year-old sinker-balling right-hander started the 2014 campaign in the Nationals' rotation when Doug Fister went on the DL with a right lat strain at the end of Spring Training, but after five starts, the Nats' '09 9th round pick out of Merritt Island, Florida was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.
After a sort-of out-of-nowhere season in 2013 that started at High-A Potomac and ended with nine starts in the majors in which he went (1-3) with a 3.66 ERA, a 3.49 FIP, 11 walks (1.92 BB/9) and 29 Ks (5.05 K/9) in 51 ⅔ innings.
Jordan put up a 5.61 ERA, a 4.50 FIP, eight walks (2.81 BB/9) and 17 Ks (5.96 K/9) in 25 ⅔ IP this season before he was sent to the Nats' top minor league affiliate.
The concern at the time, was that Jordan lost velocity on his fastball, with his two-seamer down from an average of 91.4 MPH in 2013 to 88.9 MPH this season and his four-seamer down from 92.3 MPH to 90.
"I don't know what the cause of it is," Jordan told reporters in April, "but if I can get my sinker in the location that I want it, then velocity shouldn't really matter too much."
Nats' GM Mike Rizzo too said he was just as concerned with pitcher's command as he was with the drop in velocity.
"He certainly didn't command the baseball like he was last year," Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier.
"As a sinkerball pitcher, no matter if you're pitching at 90-91 or 86-88, you still need to be at the bottom of the zone with your sinker bottoming out."
Jordan was (0-2) with a 4.06 ERA, a 3.78 FIP, eight walks (2.32 BB/9) and 28 Ks (8.13 K/9) in six starts and 31 IP at Syracuse, but he was done for the season after a June 5th start.
The right-hander, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011 experienced soreness in his elbow that the team was having a difficult time diagnosing as Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore reported in a late July article.
Rizzo said then that he wasn't worried about any issues related to that surgery.
"'We’re not too worried about that,'" the Nats' general manager told the WaPost reporter.
"'The doctors told me that’s not what they’re thinking about. They want to find out what it is. It’s more discomfort than anything else. We want to find out what it is so we can make him comfortable, so he can possibly help us down the road.'"
Jordan never returned to competitive action, however, and according to a report by the Washington Post's Nats beat reporter on Twitter this weekend, Jordan underwent another surgical procedure in September to remove bone chips from his elbow:
Nats RHP Taylor Jordan had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow in September. Should be ready by spring training.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) October 24, 2014