WASHINGTON – Mason Denaburg had two strikes – so to speak – against him going into the 2020 season.
The right-hander was coming off shoulder surgery in the fall of 2019 while there was no minor league season this year due to the pandemic.
But the first-round pick from 2018 took part in Instructional League in his native Florida in October.
“He is in game shape now,” assistant general manager, player development Mark Scialabba said near the end of instructs.
“He is building up his arm strength. He will throw in the next week or so then start focusing on next year. He worked diligently all season long.”
“He stayed in touch with coaches and medical staff” before arriving at instructs, Scialabba said. “It was a difficult process to throw on his own” during the shutdown.
Denaburg went to Merritt Island High – also the alma mater of pitcher Taylor Jordan, who was with the Nationals for parts of 2013-15.
In 2018, Denaburg did not pitch in the minors after he was drafted.
Last year in the Gulf Coast League he was 1-1, 7.52 in seven games with four starts.
“He has battled some injures and he had to rehab,” pitching coordinator Brad Holman told Federal Baseball from Florida in October.
“We have kept in touch with some Zoom calls” during the shutdown.
Denaburg received some personal attention from Mark Grater, the rehab pitching coordinator in player development who pitched in the majors for Detroit and St. Louis.
Grater played in college at Florida International before he was drafted by St. Louis in 1986.
“Grater drove to Orlando and watched him throw sides,” Holman said of Denaburg. “He has done a really good job with him, it is almost miraculous.”