Washington Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker spoke to reporters before this afternoon’s game about the decision to call 24-year-old right-handed reliever Trevor Gott up from Triple-A Syracuse to help out in the major league bullpen.
Gott, acquired in a December 2015 trade with the Los Angeles Angels, posted a 4.35 ERA, a 3.47 FIP, 13 walks (2.97 BB/9) and 31 Ks (7.09 K/9) in 33 games and 39 1⁄3 IP at Triple-A in the Nationals’ system last season, and came up to make nine appearances with the Nats, putting up a 1.50 ERA, 3.15 FIP, 4.50 BB/9 and 9.00 K/9 in six innings.
Gott, who’s thrown mostly a mid-90’s fastball and low-80s change in two seasons in the majors, started the 2017 campaign back with Washington’s top minor league affiliate, posting a 3.30 ERA, 2.61 FIP, three saves (the second-most on the team) six walks (1.80 BB/9), 28 Ks (8.40 K/9) and a .256 BAA over in 30 IP at Syracuse before today.
Baker said the decision to call Gott up was “pretty self-explanatory,” and they had to send infielder Wilmer Difo down to make room on the major league roster.
“We’re in a consecutive streak of days,” Baker explained, “and like yesterday we didn’t have a couple guys available. We didn’t have [Enny] Romero, we didn’t have [Matt] Albers, and so, it’s really kind of hurting us not to have that off-day on [June 8th], but I kind of knew that from my history and past, that what suffers first is probably your bullpen and then secondly your position players, and so it was a tough decision.
“We didn’t want to send Difo out, but we needed an arm, and I hear [Gott] was throwing the ball pretty good.”
He wasn’t willing to share the details of any message he had for Difo when the utility infielder was optioned out.
“I can’t tell you that,” he said, “that’s between me and Wilmer, and so, just told him, in essence, go down there and play, play your butt off and he’ll be back.”
Another reason the Nationals needed bullpen help, aside from the general struggles, was the fact that they just placed Koda Glover on the 10-Day DL with lower back stiffness he tried to pitch through on Saturday, in what ended a blown save in a 6-3 loss to the Texas Rangers.
Asked who might close if the Nationals’ need a closer while Glover is out, Baker said that like it’s been all season, they will take things on a case-by-case basis.
He also said that while it wasn’t a good idea, he understood Glover attempting to pitch through the back pain and keep it from his coaches and manager before he went out and struggled.
“[Glover] came in to see me and kind of apologized for not [telling us],” Baker told reporters.
“He said he wanted to pitch so bad that he didn’t say anything, and he was tired of being hurt and he’s never been hurt in his life, and so most people don’t understand, but I understand because I’ve been in that situation, you know what I mean? Especially when you’re kind of big and bad, you don’t want to like be hurt and you don’t want to admit that you’re hurt.”
“I understand exactly where he was coming from,” Baker continued, “it just didn’t help us and didn’t help him, and I urged him next time to let us know, because we couldn’t see the signs. He didn’t wince, he didn’t do anything, other than throw the ball up, that was kind of strange that he was throwing the ball up, but I didn’t know if he was throwing the ball up intentionally or not, because we had gotten the shortstop on some high fastballs before, so I said, maybe he was throwing the ball up intentionally.”
Baker added that he wasn’t sure when Glover will return because it’s too early to tell, especially with back issues, but they have Gott up for now, and some more questions the next time they have a lead in the ninth.