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Washington Nationals bring Michael Blazek up for another big league opportunity...

Last time he was in Nationals Park, things didn’t go so well for Michael Blazek. Better luck this time around, Michael.

Screencap via MASN

Michael Blazek hasn’t pitched in the majors since July 27, 2017, when he gave up six homers in 2 13 innings of work on the mound, five of them in the third inning, when Brian Goodwin, Wilmer Difo, Bryce Harper, and Ryan Zimmerman went back-to-back-to-back-back before a fifth home run by Anthony Rendon one out later ended his outing in Nationals Park in what was his first major league start (109th big league appearance).

On Monday afternoon, Blazek returned to the nation’s capital, called up to Washington, D.C. by the Nationals after he signed with the organization in early May and posted a 1.74 ERA, 13 Ks, and a .143 AVG in a solid stretch over his last eight appearances and 10 13 innings pitched for the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies.

Blazek posted a 5.54 ERA, a 4.92 FIP, 10 walks (3.46 BB/9), 28 Ks (9.69 K/9), and a .224 BAA overall in 23 games and 26 IP for the Nats’ top minor league affiliate.

“We ended up signing him,” Davey Martinez said after Blazek’s addition to the Nationals’ roster was made official on Monday.

“[He] had to go through that whole Spring Training thing in Triple-A and started throwing the ball really well. Last time he was up to 97 [MPH], good curveball, good slider, mixes in a changeup, so we thought right now would be a good time to get him while he was pitching really well.”

Blazek spent the 2018 campaign in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization, before signing with the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball’s Lincoln Saltdogs this past April, before the Nationals came calling a month later.

“I felt really good at the end of the year last year,” Blazek said today, “and I was able to go into the offseason at least with that, but it was a tough, tough offseason, because I didn’t really have anything, there was nothing lined up, didn’t really have an offer.

He signed with the Saltdogs, but wasn’t there for long.

“I went down there for about a week,” he explained, “... and spent some time out there and some people helped me out, so I can’t thank those guys enough. They know who they are, but when I find the right time, I’ll be able to thank them for just kind of getting me back in here and getting an opportunity to play.”

His goals coming into the 2019 campaign, he said, were to prove he could still compete, and hopefully get another opportunity.

“Honestly I think it was just a matter of showing everyone that I could still pitch,” the now-30-year-old reliever said. “I would say I’m not the same guy I was at 17, or even before that.

“I kind of had to reinvent myself a little bit. The game’s changed, I didn’t really get to see that last year, because I missed the whole year, you know, still do what I do and do the normal stuff, but it’s different now, you’ve got to kind of pitch a little differently, you have to adapt to it, but I think for me this year it was just honestly coming back in here and just showing everyone I can still do it, and hopefully I can.”

“He’ll attack you with the fastball,” Martinez said when asked for a scouting report on the Nats’ newest reliever, “... but his secondary pitches were really good, curveballs to lefties, sliders to righties, occasional change, but very effective, knows how to pitch, uses all his pitches well.”