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Washington Nationals’ 2022 Rotation: Joan Adon states case for spot in big league mix

Joan Adon started on Monday and gave the Nationals something to think about heading into the season opener...

Washington Nationals Photo Day Photo by Adam Glanzman/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Joan Adon, 23, who signed with the Washington Nationals out of the Dominican Republic for $50K in July of 2016, made his MLB debut in the regular season finale last September.

In 5 1⁄3 IP against Boston’s Red Sox in that outing, Adon, (who posted a 4.97 ERA in 17 starts and 87 innings at High-A, a 6.43 ERA in three starts and 14 IP at Double-A, and then struck out seven batters over four scoreless in his Triple-A debut, giving up two hits and three walks before he was called up), struck out nine of the 24 Sox’ batters he faced, giving up six hits, three walks, and two earned runs.

Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters after the outing that he liked what he saw from the young right-hander.

“Adon came in and was lights out,” Martinez told reporters after Game 162 of 162 in 2021.

Boston Red Sox v Washington Nationals Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

“He pitched really well, so that’s encouraging. And I loved his attitude, I love the way he came in and did his thing today.

“At the end, he did get a little bit tired, but you’ve got to understand, it was his first time, big crowd, but he looked great and he didn’t let crowd affect him, he went out there and did his thing, and his stuff was really, really good.

“I’m looking forward to him coming to Spring Training, getting ready, and see where he’s at next year.”

Adon said in his own post game interview the experience provided him motivation to pitch in the majors again sooner than later.

“It obviously gives me a lot of motivation to keep working hard,” he said, “... keep working hard in the offseason, and get ready for next season, and hopefully start the year with the team up here at the big league level.”

Monday afternoon’s start for Adon was his first of the year in Grapefruit League action after he made two relief appearances earlier this spring, and the right-hander once again made a case for inclusion in the big league rotation come Opening Day.

Adon went four innings against the St. Louis Cardinals, giving up four hits three runs, and a walk, striking out five in a 74-pitch effort.

His manager told reporters after the game that if it was up to him, Adon would be part of the Nationals’ rotation.

“I like him, I really do,” Martinez said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman after Monday’s game. “I know he’s part of our process of being young, but I think he’s come a long way.

“If I had to make a decision myself, I think he’d start with us. But I’m going to go back and talk to [GM Mike Rizzo] We definitely need starters.”

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Adon reiterated yesterday that the brief taste late last season definitely motivated him as he worked over the winter and once he arrived at Spring Training, and going up against a solid Cards’ lineup provided him with a realistic look at where he needs to improve.

“I’m a young guy, and these are veteran hitters back there. I learned from it, and it helps motivate me to get better.”

If he gets the chance to travel to D.C. with the team this week, and start the season in the big leagues, the work he put in over the last few seasons will have paid off nicely.

“It would be very exciting,” he said. “Obviously, I only had one start last year, so to start the season with the team would be very exciting.”