Results tagged ‘ Matt Chico ’

Nats need starter for Sunday

With Stephen Strasburg not pitching Sunday against the Phillies, the team has to decide who will take his place.

One thing is certain, right-hander Jason Marquis will not pitch on three days’ rest like Ross Detwiler did Sunday against the Brewers. Marquis pitched Wednesday, allowing four runs in five innings for Triple-A Syracuse.

It also appears that right-hander Livan Hernandez will not pitch on short rest after throwing just 4 1/3 innings and allowing three runs on six hits against the Braves on Wednesday.  

However, left-handers John Lannan and Matt Chico are candidates to make the start. Lannan is having an up-and down- season in the Minor Leagues. In seven starts for Double-A Harrisburg, Lannan is 1-4 with a 4.20 ERA.

Chico is having a solid season in the Minor Leagues this season, going a combined 6-6 with a 3.46 ERA in 19 starts for Harrisburg and Syracuse.

The Nationals could also go back to right-hander Miguel Batista, who pitched five shutout innings in Strasburg’s place on Tuesday. As of Wednesday afternoon, Batista was not told if he would start against the Phillies.

Chico optioned to Syracuse; Burke to the DL

The Nationals optioned left-hander Matt Chico to Triple-A Syracuse, while re-assigning left-hander Doug Slaten and catcher Jamie Burke to Minor League camp Saturday.  

Of the three, Chico is the most intriguing because he had a chance to become the fifth starter in the rotation. After missing almost two years because of elbow reconstruction, Chico proved he is 100 percent healthy, but it wasn’t enough.

In three outings — including an intrasquad game — Chico gave up five earned runs in seven innings. In two of those starts, Chico looked like the player who collected a lot of groundball outs. The bad performance came March 13, when Chico gave up the five earned runs in an inning- plus against the Astros. That usually means that he can’t throw strikes with his breaking ball. Chico will be the first to say he can’t throw just his fastball to get by.

“I felt I would be probably be a long shot out of anyone just because of the history of being out [for almost two years],” Chico said. “The only thing I could do was come and show that I’m healthy and throw some pitches a little better than I did before. I think I did that. I’ll just take it all in stride going into the season.”

General manager Mike Rizzo, who drafted Chico when both were with the D-backs, felt Chico needed more innings in the Minor Leagues after being out of action for a long time.

“The decision [to send Chico to Syracuse] was performance based and developmental based, but I feel he is 100 percent back from his surgery,” Rizzo said. “His arm looks better, he looks stronger and crisp than when he started the 31 [Major League] games for us in 2007. 

“I told him that he hasn’t looked this good since his early days with the Diamondbacks. He was a pleasant surprise in Spring Training. I felt,  because of the lack of innings that he lost, he needs to go and refine his skills down in the Minor Leagues. He is not an overhaul-type of guy at all. He needs to go get his innings and correct the flaws that he has gained after losing all that time.”

As for Slaten and Burke, they most likely will start the season in Syracuse with Burke starting the season on the disabled list. He has a torn right meniscus and is expected to miss four to six weeks.           

Nationals trade O'Connor; Storen to be activated

The Nationals traded left-hander Michael O’Connor to the Padres for a player to be named later on Wednesday. Washington made the move because it needed roster space for Triple A Syracuse and O’Connor didn’t fit into its long-term plans.

O’Connor, once considered the Nationals’ top pitching prospect in 2005, was often hit hard during his brief time in the big leagues, going 4-9 with a 5.45 ERA in 26 games. This year, O’Connor was a combined 2-6 with a 4.65 ERA for Syracuse and Double A Harrisburg before the trade 

“We needed roster space and Mike was the guy we chose to move, and there was interest with another club,” acting general manager Mike Rizzo said. “We are looking out for him. We didn’t want to send him back to Double A. We felt this was the best course of action, not only for us, but for him, too.”

The Nationals have not figured out who would take O’Connor place on the roster. They could keep it open and wait for left-hander Matt Chico. Chico has missed a huge chunk of the last two seasons because of elbow reconstruction. He is now healthy and pitching for Class A Hagerstown. In two games, he has given up two runs in six innings.

In other news, reliever Drew Storen,  the Nationals’ 10th  overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, is expected to be activated on the Hagerstown roster on Wednesday.

Storen hasn’t pitched in a game in three weeks. Rizzo said the team will get him into a throwing program so he can build up his arm strength.

“We are going to be cautious with him and allow him to adapt the professional game,” Rizzo said. “We want to extend him [in the future] so he can feel the rigors of being a professional pitcher.”  

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