Stephen Strasburg was scheduled to start tonight’s series opener with the Baltimore Orioles in Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Early this afternoon, however, the Washington Nationals announced that he was being placed on the 15-Day DL with right elbow soreness, so right-hander A.J. Cole was called back up from Triple-A Syracuse to take Strasburg’s turn in the rotation.
Cole, 24, debuted in the majors in 2015, struggling in his only start for the Nationals last season, but he put together two solid relief outings late in the year.
At Triple-A Syracuse this season, the 2010 Nationals’ 4th Round pick has put up an (8-8) record with a 4.26 ERA, a 3.92 FIP, 35 walks (2.53 BB/9) and 109 Ks (7.87 K/9) in 124 ⅔ IP.
Cole was called up in case he was needed this past weekend in Atlanta, then optioned back to Triple-A when Nats’ first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and catcher Jose Lobaton returned from their respective DL stints.
Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker told reporters he received positive reports on Cole when he was called up during the series with the Braves.
“Reports have been good,” Baker said succinctly, before talking about what role he would fill if needed in Atlanta.
Over his last ten starts with the Nationals’ top minor league affiliate, Cole has put up a 3.86 ERA with 15 walks and 56 Ks in 63 IP.
In five starts and 35 ⅓ IP so far in the second-half, Cole has a 2.80 ERA (after posting a 4.84 ERA in 89 ⅓ innings before the All-Star break), holding opposing hitters to a .227 BAA while walking six and striking out 33 batters.
Here’s the lineup that will back Cole up in the first game of the four-game home-and-home series with the Nationals’ “regional rivals”: