While splitting the first six games of the 2010 season, the Nationals witnessed a number of roster moves and injuries. Right-handed starting pitcher Garrett Mock was optioned to AAA Syracuse on Sunday after making just one start. His lone appearance did not go well, as he threw 84 pitches yet only 44 went for strikes as Mock lasted a mere 3.1 innings. In that time he surrendered two runs on four hits and five walks, including two home runs. Though he did not receive a decision in that outing (Miguel Batista took the loss, 8-2 to the Mets), his few innings of work put the bullpen and the team behind the eight ball for the rest of the game and week.
In other news, utility man Mike Morse was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right calf. In his place, the Nationals recalled outfielder Roger Bernadina. Additionally, Ryan Zimmerman will not play until Wednesday, giving him a few extra days to rest his balky left hamstring. Zimmerman's injury is considered minor and the team does not anticipate a stint on the DL.
Though the Mock demotion was made to clear room immediately so that Livan Hernandez could make his Sunday start, the move appears to be a long term decision as Scott Olsen will replace him (Mock) in the rotation. While some of us predicted this before the start of the season, the Nationals ultimately reached the same conclusion. Mock had struggled mightily since the last few weeks of spring training and, as General Manager Mike Rizzo said:
This is a performance league. As a 27-year-old right-hander, with the stuff that he features, we just need guys to perform. We're here to win games. He's got to iron out some mechanical things to throw more strikes. The bottom is line, you have to perform, and you have to throw more than 3 1/3 innings. You've got to give your ball club a chance to win.
Until his in-game performance improves, Mock will remain on the list of talented players who never appeared to reach their full potential.
With regard to the team's injuries, the Nationals are fortunate that neither appears to be serious. Zimmerman's return has been delayed until Wednesday in order to take advantage of the team's off day on Tuesday, and Morse's move to the disabled list was more of a practical move so that the team would have an additional bench player available. I expect both to be back in uniform and on the field sooner rather than later.