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Washington Nationals call Fernando Rodney & Jonny Venters up; add veteran relievers to bullpen mix...

The numbers with the Oakland A’s and Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies this season don’t inspire much confidence, but 42-year-old reliever Fernando Rodney is getting another shot. And Jonny Venters too!

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In 68 games and 64 13 innings on the mound for Minnesota’s Twins and the Oakland A’s in 2018, Fernando Rodney put up a 3.36 ERA, a 4.03 FIP, 32 walks (4.48 BB/9), and 70 Ks (9.79 K/9). Rodney struggled this season with the Athletics, however, with a 9.42 ERA, a 5.56 FIP, 12 walks (7.53 BB/9), and 14 Ks (8.79 K/9) in 17 games and 14 13 IP before he was released on May 28th.

A’s skipper Bob Melvin told reporters after Rodney’s release that it was hard to find innings for the 42-year-old reliever, who struggled to adjust in an undefined role.

“At some point you have a guy like that who’s basically a one-inning guy who’s used to working late in games and he’s not getting consistent work,” Melvin told reporters, as quoted by San Jose Mercury News’ writer Shayna Rubin.

“He’s still throwing upwards of 95,” Melvin added. “But for a guy who is used to a lot of work and likes to work, it put us in a difficult spot.”

Rodney signed with Washington a week later, reuniting with manager Davey Martinez, who was the bench coach for the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs when Rodney pitched for those teams.

“He hasn’t pitched in a while,” Martinez said, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr.

“We’ve got to get him back in there and get him right. He’s going to throw a couple of sides.

“He’s a veteran guy that I’ve known for years, had in Tampa. Great guy, very good clubhouse guy, had a lot of success at the big league level. Hopefully, we can get him right.

“Just another veteran, a guy that can pitch in the back end of the bullpen.”

Martinez told reporters he’d watched footage of the reliever and said the stuff was still there though the command clearly was an issue they’d need to sort out.

“He’s walked a lot of guys and that’s typically not what he does,” Martinez said. “He’s usually a strike thrower. He’s going to go down [to Triple-A] and [we’ll] probably hone in on him a little bit and see where he’s at. Hopefully, he can come up here and help us.”

Rodney put up a 4.50 ERA, a 6.35 FIP, nine walks (10.13 BB/9), and 14 Ks (12.38 K/9) in nine games and 8 IP at Triple-A Fresno in the Nationals’ system, but reports from Fresno’s staff said there were positive signs.

Will Rodney actually contribute at the back end of the Nationals’ bullpen? He was called up this afternoon as the Nats start a three-game set with the Miami Marlins.

Rodney is filling a roster spot which opened up when Trevor Rosenthal was released over the weekend after the veteran reliever struggled to throw strikes in his first season back following Tommy John surgery.

Will Rodney take advantage of the opportunity, or will he end up being a stop-gap until the Nationals find another a late-inning option that can help get the ball to their closer?

VENTERS TOO?: In addition to the decision to bring Rodney up today, the Nats decided to call left-hander Jonny Venters up too, after the veteran reliever put up a 1.29 ERA, 4.98 FIP, six walks, and four Ks in seven innings on the mound at Double-A Harrisburg.

Venters, 34, signed a minor league deal in late May, after struggling with in Atlanta, giving up nine hits, eight walks, and 13 runs (9 ER), in nine games and 4 23 innings before he was released.

In order to add Rodney and Venters to the big league bullpen, the Nationals moved Jeremy Hellickson to the 60-Day Injured List and optioned right-hander Kyle McGowin to Triple-A Fresno.