Hey, we’ve all been there Ryan Mattheus.
But clearly Mattheus never watched Bull Durham; Crash Davis‘ last lesson to Ebby Calvin ‘Nuke’ LaLoosh involved exactly what Mattheus just did to himself. If you’re going to punch something … NEVER punch with your pitching hand.
And then in an even worse move, Mattheus hid the injury from his manager until it was too late to call up someone, meaning the team was short a reliever for last night’s SF game (a predictable 8-0 loss as Zach Duke even more predictably got hammered for 7 hits and 4 earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings).
We may even have an issue with Henry Rodriguez, who apparently “grimaced” as he was throwing one of his FOURTY SEVEN pitches last night, a ridiculous amount of pitches for a max-effort guy who should normally be throwing half that in an outing. Don’t be surprised to see news of him hitting the D/L either.
So, with the bullpen shredded and now devoid of basically anyone who can throw significant long innings for the next couple of days, the team called up Yunesky Maya to provide some cover. Maya has been awful in AAA so far this year (1-4 with a 5.07 era) but he’s the best option on the 40-man roster for what they need right now. They’re also planning on calling up lefty Fernando Abad, one of their slew of lefty minor league free agents who has been excellent in AAA this year. Abad will likely be a one-for-one replacement for Mattheus when he hits the D/L and has earned his way back to the majors. Abad will require a 40-man move; he will be the 40th guy on the roster. Maya likely switches places again with Eury Perez once the bullpen can catch its breath.
A better more interesting question may involve the fate of Duke. He’s been awful this year, barely appears because of it, and when he is called upon to provide the one thing the team needs from him (an effective spot start) he fell on his face. He’s not given this team anything close to what Tom Gorzelanny gave us for the past few years, and I’m beginning to wonder if the team really made the right decision keeping Duke over Gorzelanny. Duke only makes $700k a year (versus the 2yr/$5.7M deal that Gorzelanny got from Milwaukee) but with the marginal value of a “Win” on the open market being in excess of $5M these days, have the Nats ended up being penny wise but a pound foolish?
Regardless of the “hindsight is 20/20” analysis with Duke versus Gorzelanny, I have a feeling we may be seeing another move in the near future; the DFA of Duke and the call up of either J.C. Romero or newly acquired Xavier Cedeno. Both are lefties, both are veterans, both are pitching really well in Syracuse, and both seemingly can do no worse than Duke has done. This isn’t as exciting as seeing a prospect get called up (for example; Danny Rosenbaum or Erik Davis), but with any more injuries we may get there.