The Washington Nationals announced that starter Luis Atilano will be optioned down to Triple-A Syracuse in order to get the rookie starter game action during the All-Star break.
MLB.com Nationals beat writer Greg Rosenstein quoted Atilano as saying, "It's to keep me sharp so I don't have too many days of rest. I'm going back home for the break, so I'm probably not going to do much around there, so they want to keep me here in shape so I can be successful."
Atilano is expected to re-join the Nationals rotation in time for their series with the Cincinnati Reds after the break.
In his last two starts, Atilano has lost both decisions while failing to keep his team in the game. Against the Mets on July 2nd, Atilano lasted 3.2 innings, surrendering five earned runs on four hits while striking out four and walking two. In his most recent outing against the Padres, his struggles continued, lasting 5.1 innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits.
For the year, Atilano has tallied 81.2 innings in 15 starts, pitching to a 6-6 record, 4.85 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and maintains a K/BB ratio of 39/29. He also has given up 10 home runs to opposing hitters.
I understand the move completely. The Nationals need better results from Atilano as he continues to fill in for the likes of Ross Detwiler, Jordan Zimmerman and Jason Marquis. This short stint in Syracuse isn't so much to keep him sharp as it is to get him back on track.
It's a smart move by the Nats front office. This start should hopefully relax Atilano, for he has quite the task of facing the Reds when he comes back from break.