Washington Post writer James Wagner was first with the report this afternoon that Washington Nationals' prospect A.J. Cole was on his way back up to the majors and joining the Nats in San Diego, though he speculated that it might be in order to help out an overworked bullpen. Within the last hour, however, the Nationals announced on Twitter and in a press release that Cole was in fact called up, but at the same time they reported that 31-year-old right-hander Doug Fister was being placed on the 15-Day DL with right forearm tightness:
Fister lasted just two innings last night in the Nationals' rain-delayed loss to the Padres, giving up eight hits, two of them home runs and seven runs total, all earned. The outing left the veteran starter (2-2) after seven starts with a 4.31 ERA, a 4.70 FIP, 10 walks (2.27 BB/9) and 18 Ks (4.08 K/9) in 39 ⅔ after a +1.4 fWAR campaign in 2014 in which the right-hander acquired from the Detroit Tigers last winter was (16-6) with a 2.41 ERA, 3.93 FIP, 5.38 K/9 and 1.32 BB/9 in 164 IP.
The seven-year veteran struggled with his command in the majority of his starts this season, though he put together two solid outings against against the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves before last night's step backwards.
Cole, 24, made his MLB debut earlier this season in Atlanta, and struggled with his command as well, giving up nine hits and nine runs, four earned in two innings, but the 2010 Nats' 4th Round pick is coming off a big season at Double and Triple-A in the Nationals' system.
The right-hander was (6-3) with a 2.92 ERA, 2.58 FIP, 15 walks (1.90 BB/9) and 61 Ks (7.73 K/9) in 14 starts and 71 IP at Double-A Harrisburg before he moved up to make eleven starts for Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs, going (7-0) with a 3.43 ERA, a 4.48 FIP, 17 walks (2.43 BB/9) and 50 Ks (7.14 K/9) in 63 IP for the Nats' top minor league affiliate.
In five starts at Triple-A this season, the right-hander is (0-1) with a 2.67 ERA, 4.16 FIP, two walks (0.67 BB/9) and 16 Ks (5.33 K/9) in 27 IP.
Whether he joins the Nationals' bullpen or rotation is an open question until there is word from the Nationals, who moved 15-game winner Tanner Roark to the 'pen this season after signing Max Scherzer to a big free agent deal.
Cole has been a starter throughout his minor league career, however, while Roark has been back and forth between roles over the last few years.
Roark, did, however, work as a starter throughout the Spring in case there were any issues with the expected starters.
More info when there is some...
UPDATE: 7:15 PM EDT: FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Cole will join the rotation:
Fister on DL (forearm tightness). If injury lingers, Roark in reserve for #Nationals’ rotation. Would need to be stretched out in minors.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 15, 2015
#Nationals viewed A.J. Cole and Taylor Jordan as initial options if starting pitcher was injured. Promoting Cole to replace Fister.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 15, 2015
We talked about Fister's issues, the Nats' loss to the Padres and more on Nats Nightly after last night's game: