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Tanner Roark returns to the Washington Nationals' rotation tonight in D.C.

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Washington Nationals' right-hander Tanner Roark has been back and forth between the bullpen and the rotation this season, but he's being called upon to start again tonight as the Nats take on the Atlanta Braves in the nation's capital.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Tanner Roark made a strong stretch of starts in the Washington Nationals' rotation between May 25th and June 16th, going (3-0) in five outings in which he put up a 3.86 ERA, five walks (1.48 BB/9), 18 Ks (5.34 K/9) and a .239/.276/.453 line against in 30 ⅓ innings pitched.

After another appearance out of the bullpen, Roark was called upon to face the Philadelphia Phillies in a June 28th game in Citizens Bank Park.

Things didn't go so well for the right-hander. He gave up a 12 hits and eight runs in 3 ⅓  innings of what ended up an 8-5 loss to the Nationals' NL East rivals.

"He just doesn't care. If it's an inning he's ready to pitch that inning, if it's three he's ready for that and if it's a start he's ready for that." -Matt Williams on Tanner Roark's adaptability

"Up in the zone a little bit," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said when asked about Roark's issues that day.

"They had some balls that snuck through. They did a nice job of staying on baseballs and making contact and hitting it through the middle of the diamond. But a lot of grounders today that got through the infield, a couple of balls off the end of the bat, yeah, not his day."

Roark was asked the difficulty of moving back and forth between the bullpen and rotation and what role the transition was playing in the results he was getting on the mound.

"It is what it is," Roark said.

"The team needed a guy to start and I was fit for the job and felt fine out there, felt comfortable, just one of those games where you have no control, you can throw whatever you want up there and it seems to get hit.

"So, it's not like I'm out here asking for sympathy or anything like that, it's just baseball and one of those games."

Roark has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in the majors since then, but anticipating that they would need him in the rotation again, he was sent down to the minors recently to get stretched out.

Asked about the decision, Roark told reporters, including Washington Post writer James Wagner, that it did catch him by surprise.

"I was kinda shocked by it," Roark said. "But, you’re here to do a job. I don’t know if I’m going to be starting in September or not. But they told me to get my pitch count up."

"I can’t control what [the Nationals] want to do," Roark told the WaPost reporter. "If they want to do something, I have no say in it. So there’s no point in getting upset about it. I guess that’s the way I think about it."

As a starter this season, Roark has put up a 5.61 ERA, a 5.40 FIP and a .288/.324/.478 line against in 33 ⅔ IP.

The 28-year-old right-hander was officially called back up today to make his seventh start of the season, facing an Atlanta Braves team he was (3-0) against in 10 games, five starts and 42 ⅔ IP before the outing, with a 1.90 ERA and a .215/.276/.275 line against.

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