The Nationals called up Roger Bernadina from Triple-A Syracuse to help with a banged-up bench, while optioning lefty Jesse English to make room. Bernadina got the nod after going on a tear, he's batted .377/.426/.541 in 61 at bats in Syracuse while stealing two bases. English on the other hand had been very effective in the bullpen, posting a 3.86 ERA in seven appearances.
"We told him, 'This is not a demotion. This is a strategic roster move, because we feel that we need to get a healthy position player in there. He didn't get as much work as we wanted to. We want him to go down there, pitch and get more work."
Analysis: This is exactly the opposite of what we suggested earlier this week. The Nationals extra inning loss to the Cubs on Monday was a direct result of having an exhausted bullpen. Clippard, Capps, and Batistia were seemingly unavailable and Brian Bruney was forced to pitch in a situation he obviously wasn't comfortable in, resulting in the walk-off-walk. We at The Nats Blog suggested the Nationals bring up Storen or perhaps a Triple-A starter to throw in the bullpen until the starting pitching gets more stable. Now, instead of getting more help for a bullpen that has had to chew up a lot of innings due to poor starts from Marquis, Stammen, and Olsen, they will have one less arm.
Riggleman, however, seems more concerned about the health of his position players. This may be a sign that their nagging injuries may be more severe than we know, or that the 15-straight games is playing a rough toll early in the season. Bernadina certainly earned his promotion but how he will find playing time between Taveras, Harris, and Maxwell, I don't know.
For either the bench or the bullpen, be happy that they will both get a much deserved day off tomorrow.
Nationals mega-prospect Stephen Strasburg hurled five perfect innings for Harrisburg yesterday before being taken out to preserve his arm. Strasburg even singled in the only run for the Senators in a 1-0 victory before he exited in the fifth inning.
Phillies closer Brad Lidge, who was rehabbing in Reading told MLB.com reporter Zach Schonbrun:
"That kind of arm doesn't come around very often. It's not very often you see a guy be able to throw that hard with that kind of command of his offspeed pitches."
Analysis: What else is there left to say, the kid has a great attitude and great talent. Bring him up as soon as its fiscally responsible to do so. I'd like to see Washington promote him to Syracuse so he could face at least slightly tougher competition though.