Bullpen makeover continues with Herrera put on DL
The Nationals pitchers spent some extra time on hitting during batting practice before Wednesday’s home game with the Atlanta Braves.
Another good use of time would have been passing around name tags and introducing one another. The Nationals made a roster move for the sixth time in nine days Wednesday. And each day, at least one of the moves has involved a relief pitcher.
The most recent move came Wednesday as right-hander Kelvin Herrera went on the 10-day disabled list with right rotator cuff impingement. He had to leave Tuesday night’s game after he gave up a two-run triple in the top of the ninth as the Braves won 3-1.
“Hopefully he will start to throw by the end of next week,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said Wednesday. “No structural damage it’s all inflammation.”
Herrera was filling in as the Nationals closer for Sean Doolittle, who has been on the disabled list since July 10 with a strained left toe. Doolittle is 3-2 with a 1.45 ERA and 22 saves while Herrera was 1-2, 4.76 with three saves in 19 games since coming over in a trade with Kansas City on June 18.
The injury to Herrera means that right-hander Ryan Madson takes over as the closer, Martinez said.
The California native is 2-4, 4.32 with four saves in 46 games this season for Washington, and he saved 30 games as recently as 2016 with Oakland.
Another candidate to close games in the near future is Koda Glover, who was called up from Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday to take the roster spot of Herrera.
This will be his first stint with the Nationals in 2018, though last season he saved eight games to lead National League rookies.
“He is ready to go,” Martinez said. “He is here to pitch.”
Glover, 25, worked his way back from an injury to appear in eight games with Syracuse this season. He was 1-0 with two saves and an ERA of 2.25 and fanned 10 batters with just two walks.
The bullpen makeover began July 31 when veteran reliever Brandon Kintzler was traded to the Chicago Cubs for a minor league pitcher. The Nationals, according to published reports, felt Kintzler was a possible anonymous source for negative stories about the bullpen.
The next day, the Nationals brought up reliever Jimmy Cordero and designated veteran reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment after he threw his glove down and glared into the Washington dugout after giving up a homer on July 31 in a blowout win over the New York Mets.
On Saturday, the Nationals called up Austin Voth to serve as a backup as the 26th man for a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds. Then on Sunday, the Nationals traded Kelley to the Oakland A’s for international bonus slot value.
The musical chairs continued Tuesday as veteran reliever Greg Holland, a former All-Star, was signed by the Nationals. He had been released last week by the St. Louis Cardinals, then he fanned three batters in one inning in his first game with the Nationals later that evening.
“They are all doing well,” Martinez said of his bullpen. “I have confidence in all of those guys, I really do.”
In other pitching news, Martinez said injured starters Stephen Strasburg and Erick Fedde threw bullpen sessions Wednesday. Martinez said he figures each will throw another bullpen session before the next course of action is decided.
Strasburg (6-7, 3.90) has been on the disabled since July 25 with a cervical nerve impingement.
Also, Doolittle was out of a walking boot and threw off the mound Wednesday.