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Nationals announce Lucas Giolito to start Sunday in series finale vs Padres

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Lucas Giolito made two starts earlier this month, one interrupted by rain, and one which ended early when he got knocked around a bit in New York. He'll return to the majors tomorrow to face the San Diego Padres in the series finale in D.C.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Dusty Baker talked to reporters earlier this week about the decision to go with right-hander Reynaldo Lopez when he was asked why they went with the 22-year-old prospect instead of Lucas Giolito, who'd previously made two starts and been sent down after struggling in his second outing.

"If Giolito had pitched a little bit better this might not have happened," Baker said.

"But the fact that Giolito was having trouble with his secondary pitches -- and in the big leagues if you're having trouble with your secondary pitches they'll just spit on that and just sit on your fastball.

"I don't care what kind of fastball you have. Plus, he wasn't displaying excellent control with his fastball, so sometimes what we want, what we all want in the progress of certain players, it doesn't coincide sometimes."

Giolito was optioned back to the minors, making one start at Class-A Hagerstown which saw him give up six hits and four earned runs in seven innings for the Suns, and his debut at Triple-A Syracuse, in which he gave up seven hits, two walks and one unearned run over 6 ⅔ IP.

"Giolito pitched extremely well last night," GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s The Sports Junkies on Wednesday.

"I think 6 ⅔, no earned runs. It was his first Triple-A start. No earned runs and I think seven strikeouts, so he pitched extremely well."

Lopez was optioned back to Triple-A after his first start, and was therefore unavailable for 10 days unless an injury made it necessary for him to return, so with Joe Ross still on the 15-Day DL (and scheduled to make his first rehab start tomorrow), the Nationals once again needed a starter for tomorrow's series finale with the San Diego Padres.

While Baker told reporters yesterday that he would tell everyone who would start tomorrow, he made it official this afternoon instead, announcing that Giolito would be coming back up with a corresponding move to follow at some point after tonight's game.