Fresh Arms Added To Bullpen:
Before the second of three with the New York Mets in Citi Field, the Washington Nationals announced a series of roster moves:
- Selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Jordan Weems
- Recalled left-handed pitcher Francisco Perez from Triple-A Rochester
- Optioned right-handed pitcher Andres Machado to Triple-A Rochester
- Designated right-handed pitcher Austin Voth for assignment
In addition, the Nationals noted, right-handed starter Aaron Sanchez, who was designated for assignment over the weekend, “cleared outright waivers and has elected free agency.”
Manager Davey Martinez talked in his pregame press conference on Tuesday afternoon about the changes the club made in their bullpen, which included bringing Pérez back following a stint at Triple-A, and calling Weems up for the first time.
As for the thinking behind the moves?
“We’ll start off with the guys we called up,” Martinez began. “Weems has been throwing the ball really, really well. He’s got 12.0 strikeouts per nine innings, a 1.88 [BB/9], so we felt like it was time to get him up. So we brought both those guys up. Machado threw a lot yesterday, he threw the day before, so we just needed a fresh arm, and for Austin, who was a tough one because he’s been here for a such a long time, we felt like this is an opportunity for us to kind of let him decide what he wants to do next. It just didn’t work out here, and it’s always a tough call. I felt like we gave him a lot of opportunities, and he was very grateful, very understanding, but it was tough because he’s one of the few remaining guys who were in the playoffs and World Series with us, and such an unbelievable human being, that was a hard one. So I wish him well, and tell him selfishly, I’d love to have you back, but if you get an opportunity to go pitch somewhere else, the best of luck to you, I’ll help him out any way I can, but we felt like with Weems doing so well that this was an opportunity to get him here and try to help us win games.”
Weems, 29, signed a minor league deal with the Nationals this season, and he was, “... 2–1 with six saves and a 3.38 ERA in 19 games for Triple-A Rochester,” the Nationals noted in a press release making his call-up official. “He struck out 32 batters and walked just five in  innings pitched, [and] his six saves ranked second among Nationals’ Minor Leaguers.”
Voth, 29, had a 10.13 ERA, 4.96 FIP, six walks, and 18 Ks over 18 2⁄3 IP this season before he was designated for assignment.
Martinez said it was frustrating for everyone involved (including the pitcher) to see Voth, a 2013 5th Round pick by the Nationals, be DFA’d.
“For me,” he explained, “I was more frustrated because I sat down with him daily, and tried to figure out — we looked at all kinds of stuff, all kinds of different numbers, and we tried some things with him, and he was all open to it, and like I said, you saw some signs that maybe this was going to work, and then unfortunately, it didn’t, so it’s tough. It’s tough for me — I really believed that he was going to get through it, and it just didn’t happen.”
As for the scouting reports on Weems?
“The biggest thing with him is throwing strikes, right? And pounding the strike,” Martinez said. “He’s got a good mix of fastballs, a slider, a split, but man he’s pounding the strike zone and he throws the ball hard, and he was getting outs. He was closing for Rochester, and he kept getting better and better, so we kept close eyes on him as we do with all those guys, but we felt like he has his feet underneath, he checked all the boxes that we wanted to see, and he’s going to get an opportunity to help us here.
“I told him just he has to be ready anywhere from the fifth or sixth inning on and we’ll see how it goes.”
Nelson Cruz, 41, had a 10-game hit streak come to an end in Monday’s series opener in Citi Field, with a hit-by-pitch on his ankle the first time up eventually taking him out, and he did not start in last night’s game with the Mets either, with manager Davey Martinez explaining in his pregame press conference it was more of a precaution than anything.
“I won’t start him,” Martinez said. “He said he feels a lot better. I told him if he’s available to come off the bench to pinch hit, that would be great, but he’s a lot better than he was yesterday. Yesterday, he walked out of here and he was limping pretty bad, and today he came in he said, ‘I actually feel way better than yesterday.’ But just to keep him on his feet throughout nine innings, I’d rather just be able to get treatment, get him ready, and if we need him in a big situation and if he’s available to do that, we can plop him in.”
Considering how Cruz has been heating up, it would be an unfortunate time for an injury.
Through 24 games and 96 plate appearances in May, the 18-year-veteran had gone 27 for 85 (.318/.379/.459) with six doubles, two home runs, eight walks, and 20 Ks.
Cruz stayed in the game after the HBP, and ran the bases, did he possibly make it worse by continuing to run on it?
“We went and got an X-ray right away when he came out of the game, and it’s just a really bad contusion,” Martinez said.
“He got hit solid, and he said as the game progressed it started really stiffening up on him.”
Ross Opts For 2nd TJS:
It wasn’t hard to see this one coming, but Joe Ross, who narrowly avoided a second Tommy John surgery, when he suffered a partial tear of his second UCL in his right elbow last year, then had surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow this spring, and felt tightness there again when he started in his first rehab outing, decided to go for a second procedure after getting a second opinion on the tear doctors saw on first look.
“Yeah, so Joe opted to have surgery,” Martinez said.
“So he’s going to have surgery, no date yet. But he wants to get it repaired and fixed, and now it’s just — after the surgery, a whole lot of healing, and getting him ready, strengthening and getting him ready to get on the mound again as soon as possible.”
What led to the decision to get the surgery and start the long rehab process over again?
“He got different opinions, they all came back the same, that he needed surgery, so he’s going to have it,” Martinez explained.
Ross, 29, is a free agent this winter, but Martinez said he told the right-hander he’d like to see him stay around the team this year, and if possible, come back, and go through it all again in the organization.
“I’ve talked to him already about what his plans are after the surgery and I told him, I said, ‘I’d love to have you here, close,’” Martinez said.
“I know he’s got a guy in Dallas that he works with religiously, but I said, ‘I would love for you to come down here, and be with the guys, and get some work in here, so we can keep eyes on you,’ but we feel like he’s a National, and right now he is a National.”