As we noted in a post on Sean Doolittle being named an All-Star yesterday, Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes reported over the weekend that the Washington Nationals’ closer went for an MRI after he injured his toe tripping on the mound while ducking a line drive over the his head in the series opener with Miami last week in the nation’s capital.
“The MRI was precautionary,” the WaPost reporter noted, writing that, “... the team does not expect this to develop into a major problem,” and quoting “one team official” who said that, “... it’s not a big deal.”
Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez addressed the issue with Doolittle’s toe before Sunday afternoon’s series finale with the Marlins.
“He’s good,” Martinez said. “He’s going out there to throw right now. Yesterday he had a day off. He had a little bit of a strained toe, but he said he feels okay.”
“The other day he tripped or fell on the mound,” Martinez explained, “... and apparently he caught his toe and he was sore, but he said he’s fine.”
This afternoon, the Nationals placed Doolittle on the 10-Day DL (retroactive to July 7th) with what was described in a press release as “left toe inflammation”.
That wasn’t the only move this afternoon.
Martinez told reporters after last night’s 6-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park that another relatively brief outing by one of his starters would likely force the Nats to make a move to add some length to their bullpen corps.
“These guys are doing things they haven’t done,” Martinez said, returning to a point he’s been making for the last week or so when discussing the issues his starters are having in going deep in their outings.
“Pitching two or three days in a row,” he said, “pitching multiple innings, so they’re doing well, but I think the course of the season things turn around, our starting pitchers will get back in form and they’ll pitch six, seven innings and our bullpen will get the rest that they need, but right now we’ve got to keep fighting, keep scratching and clawing.”
“After this I’ll sit down with [GM Mike Rizzo] and see what we’re going to do, but I think we definitely need to do something,” Martinez explained, “because those guys are getting run out there every day, and like I said, some of these guys are having to pitch multiple innings a lot and they won’t survive the whole year doing that.”
This afternoon, the Nationals announced that they’d optioned last night’s starter, 24-year-old right-hander Jefry Rodriguez to Triple-A Syracuse while calling both Austin Voth and Wanders Suero back up to help take some pressure off the beleaguered bullpen.
Rodriguez can’t return to the majors for ten days now, so they Nationals will have to try out another starter when his turn in the rotation comes around again in five days, which is why Voth is here, we’d guess, though he can likely help out in an emergency if needed out of the bullpen before then.
Voth has been up three times without actually making his MLB debut, and he’s put together solid string of outings in the rotation of the Nats’ top minor league affiliate in recent weeks, with just eight runs allowed over his last 33 1⁄3 IP (2.16 ERA).
Suero had a nice run in the Nationals’ bullpen earlier this season, after making his major league debut. He put up a 3.63 ERA, a 4.16 FIP, 3.12 BB/9 and 8.31 K/9 in 17 1⁄3 IP so far in Washington’s bullpen.
More info on Doolittle and the moves when it’s available...